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The controversial decision on whether an ambulance station in Shoebury will be closed has been delayed until at least the end of August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
East of England Ambulance Service has been planning since November to transform the ambulance station on Campfield Road into a “response post” without any vehicles permanently stationed there.
However, it has faced a series of delays after councillors and campaigners urged the service not to make changes until after an in-depth assessment has been carried out which fully considers the impact it could have on the health of residents.
The result of that review were due to be published by the end of June but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it will not be complete until August.
During a Place Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Monday evening it was highlighted that even with the report being completed in August the committee, which is due to scrutinise the outcome, is not down to meet again until October.
Councillors also struggled to get any indication on the ambulance station’s future because representatives for the ambulance service did not attend.
Councillor Charles Willis (Lab) said: “If we are currently providing a very high standard of care to a small number of people, are they going to remove that standard of care to that small number of people due to there not being enough people?
“I would really like this report’s clinical modelling to focus on patient outcomes.
“We may still be in the ‘acceptable’ envelope for patient outcomes but this may be a whole lot worse than what residents are receiving now.
“I would be really keen to understand why patient outcomes would be allowed to fall.”
Meeting chair, Councillor Lesley Salter (Con) also highlighted that an update on the review which was sent to the committee by the ambulance service focuses only on “response times, rather than patient outcomes”.
Other issues raised centred on the ambulance service’s review failing to take into account Shoebury’s growing population and future housing plans.
Councillor Ashley Thompson (LibDem) said he had been told by the ambulance service that future housing plan are not being considered because “there is no certainty those houses will be built”.