Plans to close ambulance stations across High Peak have been condemned by Labour councillors in High Peak.
The plans would see the numbers of ambulance stations in the East Midlands cut from 66 to just 13 hubs. Ambulance stations in Buxton, New Mills, Bakewell, Ashbourne and Matlock are threatened with closure, with the nearest new hub being at junction 29 of the M1 more than 30 miles and well over an hour’s drive from Buxton.
The plans will also have an impact on Glossop which is covered by North West Ambulance Service. Formal consultation on the proposals is due to go ahead in September.
However, the GMB, which represents ambulance workers worried about their futures, invited High Peak Borough Council Leader Caitlin Bisknell and Cllr Fiona Sloman to meet members to hear their concerns first hand.
Under the plans ambulance crews from High Peak would have to travel to on junction 29 on the M1 – the other side of Chesterfield – to pick up and drop off their ambulance at the start and end of each day.
Caitlin said: “These proposals are very worrying for patient safety and recovery as they could well lead to people waiting much longer for an ambulance to them – critical minutes which could be the difference between life and death.
“Understandably crews are very worried that they might not even make it back to Buxton or New Mills, but instead will be sent to incidents en route. They are also worried that High Peak patients could end up being taken to hospital in Chesterfield, not Macclesfield or Stepping Hill.
“We urge EMAS to think again before consulting on these proposals and to come forward with more realistic options.”
Fiona added: “In addition to the obvious effect on patient safety, crews will have to travel to the other side of Chesterfield before they can even start work – and then go back before going home at the end of their shift. For most that will mean an extra three hours travelling a day.”