Ambulance hub won’t be in place until 2017

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A new ambulance station hub for the High Peak won’t be in place until 2017 at the earliest, according to a new report.

Documents set to go before East Midlands Ambulance Service’s (EMAS) board next week sets out three proposed timescales for the development of 28 hubs across the trust’s region as part of the Being the Best programme.

Approved in March, the programme will see nine hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community ambulance stations being created across the East Midlands region. One of the hubs will be located in the High Peak, at an as yet undecided location.

The initial plans put forward by EMAS would have seen ambulance stations in Buxton and New Mills closed and replaced with a hub at junction 29 of the M1 - the other side of Chesterfield. High Peak ambulance crews would then have had to travel to the hub to collect and drop off their vehicle at the start and end of each shift.

However, after local residents and councillors voiced fierce opposition to the plans, EMAS agreed to retain an ambulance station in the High Peak.

No specific details of the hub’s location have yet been revealed but EMAS are currently looking into three proposed timescales for the creation and implementation of the hubs in order to make the project deliverable and affordable.

The options include project timetables of ten years, eight years and five years. If the five year plan is chosen, work on the High Peak hub is expected to start in June 2016 with the scheme completed 12 months later.

However if either the eight or ten year plan are selected, the hub won’t be in place until February 2020 at the earliest.

Explaining the next steps in the programme, the documents state: “The original proposal was to deliver the hub model over a period of two years and 11 months. The implementation plans required a combination of new buildings and refurbishment to existing facilities.

“During the programme existing stations needed to be taken out of commission and staff transferred to alternative locations while works are completed. “This programme required the development of all stations across all counties concurrently. The potential level of disruption was considered to pose too great a threat to maintaining key performance standards and therefore alternative, lower risk approaches were sought.”

At their meeting next week, members of the EMAS board are expected to approve the development of an outline business case to test the options based on an economic appraisal.