REPLACING Solihull Ambulance Station with a new ‘hub’ in Erdington - 14 miles away - will put patients’ lives at risk, say worried 999 crews.
West Midlands Ambulance Service, WMAS, plans to replace the region’s nine traditional bases with new North and South Birmingham hubs, alongside 31 ‘community ambulance stations’ from next year.
However a source close to Solihull’s station, in Hermitage Road, says the proposal will endanger local patients.
“The closure of the Solihull Station will compromise patient safety and lead to slower response times and fewer ambulances available in Solihull at any time,” they said.
“The reality is, I don’t think it’s possible for an ambulance to get all the way from Erdington to Solihull without getting a call.”
A WMAS spokesman said ambulances for Solihull would ‘start and finish’ at the Erdington hub, but be dispersed to community stations at Chelmsley Wood, Dorridge, Sheldon, Shirley and Solihull during shifts, from where they would respond to 999 calls.
The borough will also have four dedicated rapid response vehicles (RRVs).
But our source claimed the RRVs would simply ‘stop the clock’ on response times for serious cases, which required an ambulance and hospital treatment.
“In some cases, there’s only so much an RRV can do. To leave Solihull completely devoid of any substantial depot seems reckless.
“The Solihull community will be often dependent on ambulances deployed into Birmingham or elsewhere having to negotiate traffic congestion and delaying the critical response times. The borough needs its own hub.”
However, WMAS has pledged that numbers of ambulances in the borough would not change and claimed response times could even be improved.
WMAS’ proposals will go before Solihull Council’s healthier communities scrutiny board on October 18.