Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting LU NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Proposed closure of Craven Arms ambulance station prompts concerns
A LUDLOW GP has joined a chorus of concern that lives could be put in jeopardy by changes to the ambulance service including the closure of the existing station in Craven Arms.
But Ambulance Chiefs have moved to calm fears and say that the new service will be enhanced not reduced.
However, Ludlow GP Dr Graham Cook of Station Drive Surgery is not satisfied.
“There is a lot of confusion about what is happening and I am concerned if people have to wait for an ambulance from Shrewsbury,” said Dr Cook.
He said that he understands that the current Ambulance Station in Craven Arms is closing and that with the exception of a vehicle based at the Community Hospital in Leominster there will be no permanent Ambulance base between Shrewsbury and Hereford.
“It seems that there will be the option of a land ambulance from Shrewsbury or hoping that there is an Air Ambulance available,”
added Dr Cook.
He said that it would be even more serious at night as the air ambulance does not currently fly during the hours of darkness.
It is intended that Community Paramedics based in cars will often be the first line of support when an ambulance is called.
Peter Corfield, chairman of the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends and a veteran health campaigner, was very clear about his concerns.
“It seems that it is only a matter of time before they sub contract the service out to the undertakers,”
“This will all be made worse when the introduction of the 111 service replaces Shropdoc, which will increase the number of emergency 999 calls.”
As reported previously Mr Corfield believes changes to the on-call service will lead to more demand on the ambulance service, because he says it will be harder for people to talk to a medical professional.
But Chris Kowalik from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said the new structure was not properly understood.
“This will improve and not reduce the level of service and our ability to respond to an emergency,”
“There will be no reduction in the number of conventional ambulances.”
He said that in fact the Craven Arms station was one of a number of larger stations that will be sold off to save money, but that there will be a smaller station on the same site.
Ludlow Community Hospital will also be used as an ambulance station.
“We will actually be increasing the number of stations in the county,” he added.
But campaigners remain concerned the new stations won’t always have an ambulance permanently on site, while paramedics have been given an enhanced role that may include providing athome treatment to patients instead of being taken to hospital.