EAST Midlands Ambulance Service has played down fears that plans to reduce the number of ambulances covering Ilkeston during the night could put lives at risk.
The controversial proposals were revealed to the Ilkeston Advertiser after a tip-off from a reader highlighting concerns about the public’s safety.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is currently reviewing its staffing and deciding the best way forward.
Part of the plan they are currently considering would see staggered shifts introduced – meaning there would be two ambulances covering the day, one on a twilight shift and one on at night.
The service currently always has two ambulances on duty covering 24 hours a day.
But an EMAS spokesman said that while the new shift pattern was only a proposal at the moment, if it was given the green light it would allow more ambulances to be available at times of high demand.
He said that the idea behind the system came from an ‘analysis of demand’ in the Ilkeston area indicating that this would offer more cover when it was needed.
He added: “We continually review our vehicle and staffing levels to ensure that we have the right number in the right place at the right time.
“This would result in three ambulances being available at times of high demand rather than the current two.
“We would also like to point out that we deploy vehicles dynamically.
“So, although staff will report for duty at a particular station, they do not remain in station awaiting the next 999 call.
“Instead, we position vehicles in the locations where activity is likely to be highest – a system we call ‘dynamic stand-by’.
“This ensures that available vehicles are in the best place when they are called upon to respond to a 999 call.
“Furthermore, whilst crews operating from the Ilkeston station normally spend much of their time in that area, they do not serve Ilkeston exclusively.
“If all vehicles are occupied, our control will mobilize a vehicle from another area to provide cover (and vice versa).”