A new ambulance centre could be opened in Polegate after South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust submitted a planning application to create a new purpose built building.
The trust submitted the application to create a Make Ready Centre on a site at Cophall Farm to Wealden District Council on Wednesday, (January 8).
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 under way 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. They will be located based on patient demand but it is expected that posts will be found in towns currently served by ambulance stations.
A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “Decisions regarding the closure of ambulance stations will be made on an individual basis and on whether they are in the best location to respond to patients. However, the closures of ambulance stations will only take place once a response post is operational – thus protecting and enhancing the service we provide to patients.”
The new centre will be the third purpose-built Make Ready Centre that the trust will have developed. The other two are in Ashford and Paddock Wood, Kent. It is hoped the new centre, if given final approval by the trust’s board, will be operational by early 2015.
SECAmb’s Programme Director for Estates, Geoff Catling, said: “These facilities will not only ensure that our clinical staff are freed up to do the job they are trained to do – treat patients - there will be the prospect of job opportunities as our Make Ready contractors look to recruit make ready operatives.”
Traditionally ambulance crews have been responsible for cleaning and restocking ambulances before and after shifts.
Within the Make Ready system specialist teams of staff are employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles.
These teams are responsible for regularly deep-cleaning and swabbing vehicles for the presence of micro-organisms including MRSA and CDiff.
To reduce the risk of vehicle breakdowns, on-site vehicle maintenance experts are also on-hand to undertake routine checks and maintenance.