Despite objections from Lincolnshire County Council, the East Midlands Ambulance Trust (EMAS) will go ahead with plans to restructure the ambulance service across the region.
As previously reported, the plans will introduce a number of superhubs, community stations and standby points to improve response times.
However during consultations, a number of iterations were made, leading to three alterations of the plans.
Under the new plans, there will be 9 hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community ambulance stations across Lincolnshire.
The decision comes despite Councillor Christine Talbot, Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire, requesting a review of the plans as she believed they were “flawed“.
“Our ultimate goal is to return a dedicated ambulance service to the county,” Councillor Talbot said. “Despite the goalposts changing, and new options being introduced at the 11th hour, EMAS’ proposals still entirely fail to address how they will start meeting response time targets for our county.”
Changes will not be immediate
Phil Milligan, EMAS Chief Executive, said: “The changes will be better for staff, with more support and time to care for patients – not vehicles.
“The final recommendation was created after three months of consultation, and a further two and a half months of engagement allowing our staff and the public including other healthcare providers, councillors and MPs, to have their say and help to shape our plans.
“The way we operate now is simply not delivering the performance that local people deserve and national government expects.
“The changes we have approved at our Trust Board meeting today will improve performance on life-threatening calls by nearly 4%. People suffering a serious illness or injury can also expect to receive a faster response.
“Moving to a hub-and spoke-model means that ambulances will be deployed more efficiently and will be nearer to patients. This is not all about the bricks-and-mortar of ambulance stations – many of which were built on assumptions more than 50-years old,” Phil Milligan added.
“Clinicians will be supported by Make Ready teams based at each hub and ambulance station to clean and stock our emergency vehicles, thereby allowing our skilled crews to get out on the road faster to respond to calls and ensuring that they have the right equipment with them.
“The introduction of community ambulance stations will mean crews no longer have to return to large urban-centre ambulance stations and will be less likely to be drawn away from more rural areas. Indeed, we have also announced a trial of community paramedic schemes – which will see paramedics ring-fenced to a rural area, ensuring a local presence.
“This is a five year plan and changes to our estate will not be immediate. We will use the next three to six months of the new financial year to progress our planning and implementation of the 108 community ambulance stations, twinning of the proposed existing ambulance stations and further development of the estate strategy.”