Plans for centre could see ambulance stations replaced

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Ambulance stations affected include Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Newhaven and Uckfield.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is due to submit a planning application to Wealden District Council to built a centre on a site just off Cophall Farm Roundabout within the next month.

If approved, the new centre will be where ambulances are prepared for crews before every shift, along with providing spacious and modern training and meeting facilities for staff.

SECAmb’s Programme Director for Estates, Geoff Catling, said during shifts staff would respond from a network of strategically-placed ambulance community response posts.

The posts will provide facilities for staff between emergencies and will be located in areas to ensure SECAmb reaches as many patients as quickly as possible.

“These posts will be located based on patient demand,” he said.

“Many of the Trust’s current ambulance stations were built more than 30 years ago and are not in the best position for responding to patients quickly.

“Improving patient outcomes and response times to patients requires our vehicles and crews to be where the public need them to be, when they need them; this is why you might see an ambulance on ‘standby’ in locations that are not ambulance stations because they are closer to patient demand.”

Decisions regarding the disposal or closure of ambulance stations will be made on an individual basis and on whether they are in the best locations to respond to patients.

However, the closures or disposal of ambulance stations will only take place once a response post is operational to ‘protect and enhance’ the service to patients.

Mr Catling said the Make Ready system offers ‘significant benefits for patients’, providing an efficient and responsive service.

Specialist teams of staff are employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles which means ambulance staff, who routinely undertaken these tasks, can spend more time treating patients.

“We want our staff spending more time doing the job they are trained to do – treating patients,” Mr Catling said.

“You would not expect to see the pilot of an aircraft cleaning the plane before every flight and that is what we are looking to achieve with the Make Ready system.”