Article submitted by Karen Bradley – Member of Parliament for the Staffordshire Moorlands:
The consequences of Covid are creating huge continuing pressure on our NHS and many of you have written to me about the substantial backlog in planned and elective treatments. But I know there is also great concern in the Moorlands about the review of ambulance services in the area by West Midlands Ambulance Service.
I have been raising your concerns with WMAS for some time and understand that one of the factors that has badly affected them over recent months has been the delays handing patients over at hospital. They are supposed to do so within 15 minutes of arriving at an A&E Department but unfortunately, many of the hospitals are extremely challenged and this has led to some very long waits to handover patients at A&E.
WMAS have proposed closing all the remaining ten community ambulance stations, including the ones in Biddulph and Leek in order to improve the availability of crewed ambulances. They explain the way the ambulance service responds to calls is dynamic, with crews no longer waiting in stations for calls, as they are now despatched from case to case non-stop through their shift.
But there is real concern about all of these proposals, especially the fact that it has not been subject to public consultation.
Responses to emergency calls from the Moorlands are my priority and I took part in a meeting last week with the CEO Anthony Marsh and other Staffordshire MPs and impressed on him the need to retain a presence in the towns of Biddulph and Leek.
Ultimately the decisions will be made by WMAS but I will continue to challenge the WMAS leadership to ensure that both service levels for patients and welfare of staff are not compromised as a result of these proposed changes.