Emergency service concerns

BATTLE’S ambulance station could be under threat of closure, it has been claimed.

A member of staff from the South East Coast Ambulance Service, who did not want to be named, said Battle and Rye ambulance stations could be under threat under plans to centralise services in Hastings.

The member of staff told the Observer: “The ambulance service will soon be centralising and stations like Battle and Rye will be closing and moving to Hastings.

“This will lose important cover in mornings and evenings when guaranteed ambulances would be there on change over.”

The person added that SECAmb would arrange for standby posts, called Ambulance Community Response posts in some areas, but feared cover would still be affected.

An Ambulance Service spokesman said: “South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing the very best service to its patients.

“Our Make Ready initiative, which sees specialist teams of staff clean, restock and maintain vehicles, enhances the Trust’s service as it frees up frontline clinicians, who have historically undertaken these tasks, to spend more time treating patients.

“It has always been our intention to make Hastings fully central reporting over time. This is now more possible due to the fact we have extended the car park at Hastings Ambulance Station and we are in the process of holding a number of engagement sessions with staff about the plans in the coming weeks. We will be happy to provide further details after these sessions have taken place.

“It is our intention to maintain our performance with any changes and Trust-wide SECAmb exceeded the national performance target for Category A calls.

“With our other central reporting Make Ready Centres we have introduced ambulance community response posts which have facilities to cater for two ambulance crews and these are where crews respond from during their shifts. Where there have been station closures these have only happened once the new response posts are operational - hence protecting services in the area.

“These response posts are smaller than traditional ambulance stations. This is because stock, equipment and maintenance of vehicles is held and undertaken at the Make Ready Centres. The Trust recognises that change can be unsettling but we are fully committed to engaging fully with our staff on these issues.”

Back in July this year the future of Battle’s Police Station was called into question.

Rumours had been circulating the North Trade Road station was to be sold off.