Ambulance chiefs asked to delay plan to cut service

AMBULANCE chiefs are being asked to suspend proposals to reduce Berwick’s emergency ambulance cover until a robust and thorough formal consultation has been carried out.

The request to the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) was made following a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s executive on Monday.

The committee have also called on NEAS, once the consultation has been carried out, to resubmit their proposals to the council’s care and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee for further consideration.

Councillor Ian Lindley said: “Feelings are running very high. We have not been delighted with the way NEAS have handled their relationship with us or the wider council. What we are determined is that we get this right for the people of Northumberland.”

NEAS plans to cut the town’s daytime ambulance, leaving it with a single ambulance providing 24-hour cover. As part of a major overhaul of service delivery, it is also planning to introduce a new tier of Alnwick-based paramedic crews who will manage its urgent care workload.

It is planning to make the changes by 2013, but insists that no decisions have been made and that further discussions will be held.