ANSWERS are being demanded after the “secret” suspension of a borough ambulance station.
Paramedic crews and two emergency vehicles were removed from their Standish base and redeployed to the Wigan station on Pottery Road six months ago.
The North West Ambulance Service Trust (NWAST) confirmed the decision was taken after a storm caused serious structural damage to the roof of the Glebe Street-based station.
But they insist that a final decision over its future hasn’t yet been taken because all 100 stations across the region are now the subject of a major review. One option for the future could be a series of “hub” super-ambulance stations with enhanced staff facilities ... supported by an as-yet-undefined number of small out-lying stations (“spokes”).
They deny the relocation has caused any negative impact on call-out times.
The surprise situation was revealed this week at the council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee when Coun George Davies told members that he has received confidential complaints from staff who were based at Standish.
They have spoken of their fears about “vital extra minutes” the redeployment may now create in reaching emergencies in the north of the borough or crashes on the M6 accessed via Junction 27.
He has called in Wigan Healthwatch Wigan chief executive David Nunn who confirmed the issue was “on our horizon.”
Coun Davies, who lives in Standish and recently retired from the NHS, said: “Most people in Standish won’t know yet, but Standish Ambulance Station has been closed since the winter and will stay closed for the foreseeable future. The Ambulance Trust say that the roof was damaged in the storms allowing the rain to pour in but I wonder if this is to do with the cut-backs and this is just a cover for it.
“I know that GPs in Standish share my concerns because, if there is an emergency and they order an ambulance, it can’t get to a patient in Standish travelling from Wigan as it could if it was based in Standish, can it?
“Having worked at the Infirmary for 35 years and having daily contact with ambulance staff I still know many of them and I know of their concerns about the