The petition of residents of the constituency of Rugby,
Declares that the last remaining Community Ambulance Station in the town of Rugby is essential for ensuring the safety of local residents; and further that West Midlands Ambulance Service’s intention to close it puts the health and welfare of Rugby residents at risk.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to work with the West Midlands Ambulance Service to abandon the proposals to close the Community Ambulance Station in Rugby and to ensure that the residents of the town continue to receive the level of emergency healthcare which they demand and deserve.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mark Pawsey, Official Report, 15 September 2021; Vol. 700, c. 1091.]
Observations from the Minister for Health (Edward Argar):
The Government recognise the petition from the residents of the constituency of Rugby, in which they call for the abandonment of the proposals to close the Community Ambulance Station (CAS) in the area.
The approach to ambulance trust estates, including the model and placement of ambulance stations is an operational decision for NHS ambulance trusts to take based on the best use of resources to serve patients.
Officials have sought advice from NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) on this matter. NHSEI advises that the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is reviewing CAS provision in Warwickshire in light of its long-term strategic move toward ambulance “Make Ready Hubs”, and changes to the way that ambulance trusts categorise and respond to calls introduced under the national Ambulance Response Programme. The Rugby Community Ambulance Station closure is part of these wider changes.
WMAS advises that the changes will not degrade care or change the level of ambulance provision in Rugby, and that where an ambulance starts or finishes a shift will not have a substantial impact on provision in the area that it is based in. The same number of staff and ambulances will continue to operate in the area.
Additionally, the trust advises that ambulance deployment from Make Ready Hubs is significantly more efficient than from CAS sites. Ambulances are cleaned, fuelled and fitted with a standard load list that should last a full 12-hour shift, maximising clinician time responding to calls and treating patients. This is not the case for CAS site ambulances, which crews will need to prepare themselves before a shift, and will typically need to return for restocking during the shift. WMAS advises that it loses in the order of 2.5 to 3 hours of ambulance time at each CAS site each 24-hour period, due to the way they operate.
As this is a local decision, we would encourage petitioners to engage directly with the Trust to ensure any remaining concerns they have are addressed.