Thursday 4th July 2013 – 9am – Chris Kowalik.
Two new ambulance maintenance and preparation hubs are now operating in Worcestershire as part of plans to overhaul and modernise the ambulance service in the county.
The new centres have been created through the refurbishment of two traditional ambulance stations in Spetchley Road, Worcester and in Barnsley Hall Drive, Bromsgrove.
Both stations have been refurbished to house new offices, training rooms and fleet workshops. They have also become bases for new teams of dedicated Ambulance Fleet Assistants (AFAs) to clean, stock and prepare ambulances in readiness for the clinical staff. The AFAs also deal with any fleet issues during an ambulance crew’s shift, allowing the crew to continue with their work of looking after patients.
Worcester went ‘live’ as a hub on April 30th, followed by Bromsgrove on June 20th.
Ambulances are prepared at the hubs in time for the start of the crews’ shifts. They then disperse to stations around Worcestershire from where they respond. West Midlands Ambulance Service is currently reviewing its estate of traditionally owned ambulance stations in the county; some have been put up for sale to be replaced by new smaller Community Ambulance Stations (CAS) which will be leased rather than owned and which will be greater in number to further improve response times.
In addition to the hubs, there are three Community Ambulance Stations in Worcester and one in Bromsgrove. CASes have also opened in Malvern and Stourport, while in Evesham the town’s traditional ambulance station which is currently up for sale continues to be used until refurbishment work on its replacement is completed. In Droitwich, the previous arrangement of sharing the town’s fire station continues while the search continues for alternative suitable premises. In Pershore, the previous arrangement of sharing premises with the town’s fire station will continue.
However, due to difficulties in finding suitable sites for two new Community Ambulance Stations in Kidderminster, the town’s traditional station in Stourport Road will remain for the foreseeable future. In addition, the traditional ambulance station in Cedar Park Road, Redditch will remain until all suitable premises are found for the three Community Ambulance Stations required to sufficiently serve the town.
The system of new hubs and Community Ambulance Stations is known as ‘Make Ready’; implemented by the then Staffordshire Ambulance Service more than 15 years ago resulting in it becoming one of the highest performing ambulance services in the country with some of the fastest response times.
The level of ambulance service being provided in Worcestershire is overall increasing with the introduction of advanced paramedics. They are already operating in Evesham, Pershore, Malvern, Kidderminster and Redditch. They will be introduced later to Droitwich and Stourport. Each team consists of five advanced paramedics to ensure 24/7 cover.
Dedicated to their respective geographical areas the advanced paramedics who carry the job title of “Community Paramedic” will have received additional training in advanced patient assessment and procedures. They will be able to treat many more patients at the scene rather than having them conveyed to an A&E Department.
In addition to responding to 999 calls, the role of the “Community Paramedic” will be to liaise with other areas of health and social care and ensure the population they serve receive the best health service possible while ensuring the ambulance service, through 999, is used appropriately.
Note to Editors: interview opportunities are available today (Thursday 4th July) only.