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Champion for patients backs North West ambulance cuts
2:06pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
PATIENT champion Russ McLean has backed plans to close dozens of ambulance stations across the North West, but said he will seek assurances that response times will not be affected.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has launched a review of all 109 bases in the region, saying many are in a poor condition and cost too much to maintain.
They will look to share premises already used by other NHS or emergency services, such as Darwen Fire Station or Rossendale Health Centre.
Three new ‘hubs’ are also proposed, with three bigger, modern facilities in Merseyside, Blackpool and North East Manchester.
Mr McLean, of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “I will seek assurances that response times will not be affected. But ambulances already park up in strategic places and have done for some time. In these times of austerity it’s perhaps a good thing that they are looking to cut costs and re-invest the money in patient care.”
Union bosses have criticised the move, saying it would be ‘like selling off the crown jewels’.
Those at risk of possible closure and sell-off include Broad Oak Road, Accrington; Burnley Road, Altham; George Street West, Blackburn; Trafalgar Street, Burnley; Princess Avenue, Clitheroe; George Street, Darwen; Rakehouse Road, Nelson and Commercial Street, Stacksteads.
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