New Tangmere ambulance hub could replace stations

SECAMB vehicles SUS-140228-090646001
SECAMB vehicles SUS-140228-090646001

A SHAKE-UP in the ambulance service could see Tangmere become the new home of one of four new ‘Make Ready Centres’ in Sussex.

The new hubs are set to replace ambulance stations in new plans revealed by the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).

The ambulance trust, which covers Kent, Surrey and Sussex, has submitted a planning application to create a purpose-built Make Ready Centre at Chichester Business Park, Tangmere.

The new centre will not only be a place where ambulances are made ready for crews before every shift, but also provide training and meeting facilities for staff working in the area.

It is expected that crews currently reporting to Chichester, Midhurst, Bognor Regis and Pulborough will relocate to the new centre.

This means ambulance stations in the area are under threat of closure, but the trust said ambulances would still patrol the areas at all times.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Decisions regarding the closure of ambulance stations will be made on an individual basis and on whether they are in the best location to respond to patients.

“However, the closures of ambulance stations will only take place once a response post is operational – thus protecting and enhancing the service we provide to patients.”

There are currently ambulance stations at Terminus Road, Chichester, St Richard’s Hospital, 
Bognor Regis, Flansham, Midhurst and Arundel.

If the plans for Tangmere are approved, ambulance staff will begin and end their shifts at the new centre, but during their shift will respond from a network of Ambulance Community Response Posts.

The new centre is one of four applications the trust has submitted to create purpose-built Make Ready Centres in Sussex.

The other applications, which have all been given the green light, are for centres in Brighton, Crawley and Polegate.

There are already two purpose-built centres in Ashford and Paddock Wood, in Kent.

SECAmb’s programme director for estates, Geoff Catling, said: “These facilities will not only ensure that our clinical staff are freed up to do the job they are trained to do – treat patients, there will be the prospect of job opportunities as our Make Ready contractors look to recruit make-ready operatives from the area.”

These new ‘specialist’ teams will be employed to clean and restock ambulances at the Tangmere site.