Dales residents could face longer 999 response times as a shock report reveals East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is at “breaking point” – even before stations in Matlock and Bakewell are axed.
A watchdog’s damning report came as EMAS was fined £3.5m for failing to meet national response time targets.
Colin Todd, of the GMB Trade Union, which represents paramedics, said: “If EMAS is at ‘breaking point’ and being fined for missing targets now – how do they expect that closing these stations will improve things?
“The plans may work for urban areas, but places like the Derbyshire Dales are going to be left in an extremely vulnerable position. When you take into consideration factors like the notorious winter weather and summer tourism traffic, it’s obvious that the plans are flawed and response times will get even longer.”
EMAS medical director Dr James Gray defended the service’s performance in the last year. He said: “A tremendous amount of quality clinical care was provided to hundreds of thousands of people across the East Midlands.”
He added that EMAS’s controversial reorganisation programme – which will see the axe fall on ambulance stations in Matlock and Bakewell – will make a “significant contribution to improving performance”.