Changes to ambulance service in West Sussex

CHANGES in ambulance services being rolled out across West Sussex will maximise patient safety, health watchdogs were told.

A County Hall meeting heard one of the objectives was to address the “real challenge” of infection control in ambulances, and also to make sure they were located in the right place at the right time.

Under the plans, West Sussex will be served by three major “make ready” centres (MRCs) based in the Chichester, Crawley and Brighton areas, plus 14 ambulance community response posts, of which some are already open.

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A number of locations for the Chichester MRC have been considered, and the preferred option is a 1.5 acre site at the Tangmere business park.

The centres and response posts will replace nine ambulance stations in the county.

Members of the West Sussex health overview and scrutiny committee were given a detailed presentation on the plans, being implemented by the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

They were told the move would see ambulances responding from more locations than they had in the past.

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Geraint Davies, the trust’s commercial director, said they were endeavouring to increase their level of support in the community.

He said the trust’s current buildings were old, and in the wrong place.

“We need to ensure staff are operating from high-performing facilities,” he told the meeting.

Mr Davies said that even in rural areas of West Sussex, ambulances were already achieving a good performance, with a response time of six minutes 14 seconds, against a target of eight minutes.

The HOSC agreed a proposal by chairman councillor Christine Field that it should keep an ‘on-going overview’ of ambulance services in rural areas.