Ambulance Service could pull out of Tri-Services Centre
THE AMBULANCE Trust could pull out from Gloucester’s Tri-Service control centre.
The centre in Waterwells, Quedgeley, currently homes all three emergency services and Prime Minister David Cameron has even popped in there for a visit.
But rumours are rife the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust could be leaving before Christmas and it is currently in talks with the 29 members of staff there.
Alice Stanes, communications assistant at the trust, said: “No decisions have yet been made regarding the potential plans to withdraw from the Gloucestershire tri-services centre.
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“It is important for us to ensure staff are fully informed.
“It is for this reason that we are currently undertaking a consultation with the 29 staff members currently working at the Gloucestershire tri-services centre.
“We are also looking very closely at the potential cost savings and efficiencies that would be created, as this will be paramount in any decisions we make.”
Emergency 999 calls are not answered from the county’s control room, but it is used to mobilise ambulances across Gloucestershire.
Ms Stanes added: “SWASFT currently has four control rooms, which is twice as many as the other UK ambulance services so it is imperative we review these functions to ensure we are appropriately using public money to optimise services for patients and working conditions for staff.”
Gloucestershire’s Conservative councillors sent out a statement expressing “significant concerns” about the trust looking to leave before Christmas.
Will Windsor-Clive, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire, wrote to Ken Wenman, the chief executive of trust calling for public consultation on any proposals.
He said: “Gloucestershire’s Tri-Service centre has been massively successful in helping all three emergency services work together more effectively – particularly during the 2007 floods.
“I would be really concerned about any proposal from South West Ambulance Trust that risks undermining that.
“I know professionals I speak to are increasingly concerned, particularly following the closure of Durlsey Ambulance Station, that South West Ambulance Trust is taking resources out of Gloucestershire in favour of other parts of the region.”
Tory MP for Gloucester Richard Graham added: “I am concerned to hear of this plan by the Ambulance Service. They should be supporting the Tri-Service Centre.”
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was taken to the centre in May 2012 and told about the joint working which was taking place in the county to keep people safe.
At that time Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said: “We operate a unique mix of tri-service arrangements with the police and ambulance services which have proved themselves time and time again.
“Successful operations during the floods of 2007 and more recently during busy operations last summer proved to us the value of this approach.”