EDITOR - Managers presented the Being the Best Consultation Response Report about plans to close 66 Ambulance stations to the EMAS Trust Board at a special meeting on 10th January. To say this report lacks detail about consultation responses would be an understatement!
Managers claimed the 1,461 formal feedback forms received “demonstrate marginal overall agreement with the proposals”, but the report also briefly mentions 95,150 people signed 11 petitions expressing opposition to their proposals. However because petitioners did not expressly comment on the consultation questions these views have not been included in the overall assessment of support or opposition to the plans.
Additionally the report contains no feedback about the concerns raised by the hundreds of people who attended the 42 public meetings held during the consultation; EMAS admitted they didn’t even do a rough headcount of how many people attended these meetings!
The carefully considered responses and concerns raised by elected officials are similarly ignored, responses by Town, District & County Councils, Scrutiny Committees etc have also been glossed over in the report; as have concerns about the poor quality of the Consultation Document - lack of information/evidence it contained, and poorly worded feedback form.
The Trust Board were informed by GMB and UNISON officials that EMAS have also ignored staff concerns with their union members far from happy with the proposals, and claims the Trust has so far failed to engage or consult staff/unions properly or listen to their alternative suggestions.
It seems clear that the final proposals and business case the Board will consider on 25th March will differ slightly from those consulted on, but ambulance stations will still close and the main thrust of the proposals will still be applied.
Meanwhile it is becoming increasingly obvious that the current response times to the most critical 999 calls in Lincolnshire and rural/semi rural areas across EMAS are appalling most of the time and way outside of government targets.
Everyone wants the best possible ambulance service but ours is currently one of the worst and lives will be at stake if we let the situation deteriorate even further as a result of these ill considered changes. EMAS don’t plan to consult the public again so please make your views heard before any final decisions are taken.
Jenny & Pete Collins