AMBULANCE campaigner and Ludlow Town councillor Darren Childs says the importance of rural stations in small towns is not understood.

The man who started the campaign after his infant daughter had an agonising wait for an ambulance to get to Ludlow says that all community stations in the West Midlands have been closed.

“In Shropshire, as recently as 2017, we had seven community ambulance stations and two response posts serving rural communities,” said Mr Childs.

“They have all gone now. have learned that the crisis in ambulance response times is the ‘tip of the iceberg,’ a symptom of a wider crisis in ‘flow’ across Accident and Emergency, our acute hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford, and in social care.

“I have learned from data that current difficulties in ambulance response times have a massively greater impact on rural areas than on Shrewsbury or indeed Telford.

“I have also learned that West Midlands Ambulance Service is an outlier, and that other ambulance trusts in England, together with the Welsh Ambulance Service, have maintained their rural ambulance stations.

“The causes of the ambulance crisis are multifactorial, and there is no simple solution. However, the NHS Trust typically has in the region of 120 patients a day who are fit for discharge but cannot leave hospital.

“This contributes very substantially to a lack of availability of hospital beds, to the A&Es becoming full, and to ambulances off the road because they are queuing up outside hospitals.”