North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust has suspended their proposals to reduce frontline services across the Region.
The Trust had previously proposed to withdraw emergency vehicles from service and to downgrade other vehicles such that they could no longer respond to emergency calls (1).
A campaign launched by UNISON has been successful in getting the Trust to suspend these proposals. Over 11,000 people signed the public petition against the plans, which was submitted in Downing Street last week. Members of the public and health workers were worried that the cuts would have increased waiting times for ambulances and ultimately cost lives.
Now, NWAS have stated that they have received additional temporary funding until March that will mean the proposals will not be implemented this year.
Angela Rayner, UNISON North West’s Regional Convenor said:
“People have had enough of austerity and of reckless cuts to public services. Nobody voted for fewer ambulances. We remain a wealthy country and it is ridiculous that cuts to life-saving emergency services are even being contemplated.
“It’s great that people power has been successful and these cuts have been suspended. However, we must remain vigilant as the funding is temporary. We may need a similar campaign next year to protect our services.”
The proposals involved:
- the withdrawal of an emergency vehicle at night in each of Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Blackpool (Thurs-Sun), Carlisle and Penrith.
- the withdrawal of an emergency vehicle during the day in each of Ellesmere Port, Formby, Warrington, Burscough, Blackburn (2 days), Leyland (2 days), Accrington and Nelson
- the replacement of Intermediate Tier Vehicles with Urgent Care Vehicles – which are not staffed by paramedics and cannot respond to emergency calls – this would have affected communities across the region including West Cheshire, Wirral, North Liverpool, Central Liverpool, Fylde, Burnley, Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, South Manchester, and Rochdale.