Ambulance station to close in the autumn?

Battle ambulance station. 28/11/12
Battle ambulance station. 28/11/12

BATTLE’S existing ambulance station could close as early as the autumn, it has been confirmed.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has applied for planning permission to put a portable cabin on the site in the High Street.

If permission is granted, SECAmb says it intends to close the existing station and Battle ambulance staff will be required to start and end their shifts at the ambulance station in Hastings.

SECAmb will continue to provide emergency cover for the area with a new Battle Ambulance Community Response Post.

But back in November, a member of SECAmb staff raised concerns that the changes could affect 999 cover in the area.

The member of staff told the Observer: “This will lose important cover in the mornings and evenings when guaranteed ambulances would be there on change over.”

A spokesperson for the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said: “This planning application is part of our roll-out of our Make Ready programme across the whole Trust in order to provide our staff with cleaner, reliable ambulances while freeing up their time to spend more time doing the job they are employed to do – treat patients.

“This programme will mean the crews who once started their shifts in Battle will in future begin and end their shifts at Hastings Make Ready Centre.

“However, SECAmb will continue to provide emergency cover for the Battle area by rotating crews to the Battle Ambulance Community Response Post (ACRP) as required from the area as a whole.

“We are currently in discussion with staff regarding these changes and if planning permission is granted we are aiming to introduce this new working practice in the autumn.

“By relocating our facilities to the ground floor, we hope to improve our activation times for staff responding to emergencies from this site.”

The planning application, which has yet to be determined, seeks temporary permission for the portable building for a period of up to five years.

The supporting statement says in the long term SECAmb hopes to build a purpose-built facility on the site to provide the Battle ACRP or vacate the site entirely and base the ACRP elsewhere in the town.

It added: “Over the years the building has got into a tired state and is in need of repairs which are of a considerable cost to replace the antiquated and dilapidated systems.

“The cost of these repairs and to continually heat/maintain the premises has grown considerably over the past years and in this economic climate we are looking to improve our services whilst driving down costs as much as we can – as are all public sector bodies.”