Regional ambulance hub could be based in town as part of restructuring
- Credit: IAN BURT
An ambulance station hub could be based in Great Yarmouth as part of plans to reduce the total number across the county.
The number of dedicated ambulance stations in Norfolk could be reduced from 15 to three as part of plans to share more facilities with other emergency and community services.
As part of plans to modernise its estate, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) is considering operating under what it calls a “hub and spoke” model.
Currently there are 15 stations in Norfolk and under the plans one could be based in Great Yarmouth and the others in King’s Lynn and Norwich.
The “spokes” would be a series of community ambulance stations, possibly based at police or fire stations.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said the trust must have patient safety as its focus.
He said: “It is good news that Great Yarmouth is currently identified as one of the regional hubs under these proposals, and I’m confident that the East of England Ambulance Service has patient safety as it’s focus.
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“I will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to ensure the best service is provided to residents in the constituency.”
EEAST said its plans do not amount to a closure programme.
A spokesman said: “This is about making the most of our estate and working with partners to share more facilities and buildings to help increase our presence in the community, especially in rural areas.
“The existing estate does not support the requirements of a modern ambulance service.
“It is looking at how we are going to develop a better estate and facilities for our staff, and one that is more cost effective.”
Out of the 10 ambulance trusts across the whole of England, EEAST spends the most as a percentage of non-pay expenditure on its estates.
The plans would take place over the next seven years and see £42m of capital investment, including new training facilities and up to two new emergency operations centres.
There would be 18 in total across the East of England and a third of those would be so-called “super-hubs”, which take on extra administrative functions.
A report seen by EEAST’s board in March said the assumption is there would not be a super-hub in Norfolk.