A new ambulance centre for Polegate has taken another step forward after plans for the purpose built building were given the green light.
South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) submitted plans for its first centralised Make Ready Centre in Sussex in January.
Plans were agreed by Wealden District Council’s planning committee on March 6.
The next stage will be for the trust’s board to approve the full business case for development.
If the board agrees, it will set the wheels in motion for contractors to move on to the site just off Cophall Farm roundabout. It is hoped the new centre will be operational some time during 2015.
If approved, the new centre will not only be a centre where ambulances are made ready for crews before every shift, it will also provide modern training and meeting facilities. Work is currently underway to establish which ambulance stations will report to the new facilities but it is expected that staff from Eastbourne, Hailsham, Heathfield, Newhaven and Uckfield will relocate to the new centre.
The staff will begin and end their shifts at the centre but during their shift will respond from a network of Ambulance Community Response Posts in towns in the area.
The trust is looking to introduce response posts at Eastbourne West, Eastbourne East, Hailsham, Heathfield, Newhaven, Polegate, Uckfield and Seaford.
Senior operations manager for the area, James Pavey, said: “A great deal of effort from the project team has gone into the planning of this centre which will provide us with facilities that will not only ensure that our staff can get on with the job of treating patients rather than time spent cleaning and restocking vehicles; it will also mean local job opportunities for our Make Ready operatives. As an ambulance operational centre, it will have great training and meeting facilities local to the area – something we have needed for quite some time.”
The trust said the Make Ready initiative will significantly enhance and improve the service SECAmb provides to the community. It said it minimises the risk of cross-infection, frees up front-line staff, who currently clean and re-stock ambulances, to spend more time treating patients, and keeps vehicles on the road for longer.
The initiative ensures that specially trained operatives regularly deep-clean, restock and check vehicles for mechanical faults.