THE CHANGING patterns of society are behind a shake-up of ambulance services, planners have been told.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is seeking permission to create an ambulance community response post in Westhampnett Road, at the St James’ Industrial Estate.
“We are proposing to lease an industrial unit from Chichester District Council and use it as a rest facility for up to two ambulance crews (up to six staff at any one time),” said SECAmb in its planning application to the district council.
It said it would normally be keeping at least one crew there during a 24-hour period.
The move is part of a wider plan that involves creating make-ready centres (MRC) at strategic locations across the south, including Tangmere.
The trust said: “The restructuring is necessary as a result of changing patterns in society, which have resulted in services being gradually stretched over larger and more densely-populated areas than the majority of existing ambulance stations were initially intended to cover.”
The make-ready centre at Tangmere will allow the vehicles to be maintained and prepared.
The trust said ambulances needed to be flexible in the future and ambulance community response posts (ACRP), such as the one in Westhampnett Road, allowed crews to be there on stand-by.
Its location is hoped to ‘maximise response times to emergencies’ and is set to work in tandem with another ACRP planned for the south of Chichester.
“Emergency cover is maintained throughout the whole MRC area, (which stretches from Selsey up to Midhurst and across from Chichester to Bognor Regis),” said SECAmb.
Staff would begin at the Tangmere MRC then spread through the area as their shifts progressed.
No medicines are to be stored in Westhampnett Road – it is described as a facility where staff can rest between jobs.
Chichester City Council has raised no objection to the plan.
An application to build the Tangmere MRC was approved last year, however SECamb has still appealed over one of the planning conditions that has been imposed on the site by the council.