PLANS to replace ambulance stations in Midhurst, Chichester, Bognor and Pulborough with a new ‘super station’ in Tangmere have been approved by bosses.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SECAmb) plans to develop a new central Make Ready Centre have been formally approved by the trust’s board.
The centre, which will be created on Chichester Business Park, will not only be a place where ambulances are made ready for crews before every shift, but also provide training and meeting facilities for ambulance staff working in the area, SECAmb said.
The long-standing plans have attracted criticism because they will see stations close.
SECAmb say stations at Chichester, Midhurst and Bognor are ‘no longer fit for purpose’.
In their place will also be new ‘response posts’ - two which will be places in Chichester, two in Bognor and one in both Midhurst and Pulborough.
This, the trust say, will ‘protect and enhance the service we provide to patients’.
SECAmb senior operations manager, Lorna Stuart, said: “The centre along with the response posts surrounding it will help ensure that our clinicians are in the right place to respond to patient demand and allow them to do the job they are trained to do – treat patients.
“We’re also actively recruiting more paramedics who will serve the area and our plans will also create additional jobs for staff at the new Make Ready Centre.”
The new centre is one of four purpose-built Make Ready Centres in the pipeline with plans in place for centres in Brighton and Polegate and with construction work recently beginning on a Crawley site.
The trust has already developed two purpose-built centres in Ashford and Paddock Wood in Kent.
Traditionally ambulance crews have been responsible for cleaning and restocking ambulances before and after shifts.
Within the new system, specialist teams of staff will be employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles.
It is expected that ambulance crews currently reporting to Chichester, Midhurst, Bognor Regis and Pulborough will relocate to the new centre.