AN ambulance service member of staff says response times and levels of service will suffer in rural areas such as Evesham as part of modernisation plans.

The anonymous worker contacted the Journal in response to last week’s front page article, headlined ‘Will we wait longer for an ambulance?’ about the sale of Evesham Ambulance Station, which has gone on the market for £600,000.

Under the proposed new system there will be two main ambulance bases in Worcester and Bromsgrove as well as a smaller community station in Evesham.

The letter reads: “Will we wait longer for an ambulance? Yes you will without question.

“I know of no staff or manager who believes that patient care service will improve under the new proposals. There is a wholehearted feeling that life-saving service delivery – that is the ability to give definitive care to patients – will be degraded.

“The current target for life-threatening emergencies is eight minutes and a service must achieve this 75 per cent of the time to be successful.

“Life-threatening emergencies are what I think most people are really concerned about and why having an ambulance nearby reassures them, especially the elderly. Such emergencies include heart attack, acute stroke and major trauma. What these require is transport for definitive care and a rapid response vehicle or first responder cannot provide that.

“So it is acceptable to fail 25 per cent – well that is you Evesham, or any other rural location.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service director of service delivery Barry Thurston defended the proposed changes.

He said: “The number of 999 calls has been increasing five per cent a year for the last 15 years. Almost half of our patients don’t need hospital treatment.

Only 10 per cent of calls are genuinely life-threatening.

The ambulance service cannot stand still.

“Our intention is to provide a faster response and higher standard of care than ever before.

This will enable us to treat more patients there and then, rather than unnecessarily take them to hospital. To achieve this, experienced community paramedics, with advanced training in minor injuries and illness, will be tied to the Evesham area for the first time.

“For life-threatening calls, we will automatically dispatch a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance.”