East of England Ambulance Trust reveals plans to double the number of ambulances in Haverhill and says it has no intention of closing the station
The man responsible for ensuring ambulance services are delivered in Haverhill says that there are no plans to reduce the amount of cover given to the town or to close the ambulance station.
In the Echo last October, fears were raised by representatives of Haverhill Town Council, Cllrs Maureen Byrne and Tony Brown and clerk Colin Poole, that the station could be downgraded or closed and that the Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) would no longer be tethered in Haverhill.
However, Paul Marshall, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust’s (EEAST) head of service delivery for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (in which Haverhill falls), said this was not the case and in fact the number of ambulances serving the town was set to double.
Haverhill currently has two Double Staffed Ambulances (DSA) during the day and one at night, staffed by a crew of two, and one RRV, but the trust intends to increase the daytime number of DSAs to four by the end of 2020.
And even hough a review of the trust’s services – commissioned by NHS England and conducted by Deloitte – has said the number of RRVs need to be reduced across this area and the number of DSAs increased, Mr Marshall said the former was not something he wanted to see happen.
He said: “At the moment there is no plan to take the RRV away in the immediate future.
“We can’t drop all of our RRVs until we get up to date with all of our resources because that doesn’t work.”
Mr Marshall pointed out that more staff needed to be recruited and trained and new vehicles purchased before resources would be adequate for the planned future provision.
He added: “The communities in Haverhill want to make sure that we have got the right provision here for them, regardless of what’s going on elsewhere and when we get to that point, when we have got the full establishment, at that point there may be a decision made to reduce the RRV, that’s what Deloitte is suggesting should happen.
“In my mind we will keep putting the RRV out for the current time. I’ve got no plans in place at the moment to drop the RRV.”
The future of the station in Camps Road has also come under scrutiny recently, and Mr Marshall said that Haverhill would definitely be keeping a station where ambulances would be on stand-by.
He added: “There is a plan to keep a facility in Haverhill, whether it’s in a blue light hub and shared with the fire service or our own station, the plan is to keep it here at the moment..
“I’m talking to the fire service, the group commander; can we look at the fire service and do something there and I think it would be good for Haverhill.”
Generally, explained Mr Marshall, EEAST tried to keep South Cambridgeshire vehicles – which is Haverhill, Cambridge and Ely –within their own sector area, although this was something that was ultimately influenced by the demands placed on the service at any given time.
He said: “How many hours of cover you get in Haverhill is going to differ from day to day but you are going to increase the amount of cover you get when you increase the DSA from two to four.
“As we increase it we need to be focusing on the demand and monitoring that performance in Haverhill don’t we.”