Welsh Ambulance Service warned planned cuts will ‘put lives at risk’
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Planned cuts to Chepstow and Monmouth ambulance stations which it has been claimed would “put lives at risk” have been strongly condemned by Monmouthshire councillors.
Councillors from across the political divide backed a motion at a full council meeting on Thursday calling on the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust to scrap the plans.
The plans, part of a national roster review, will result in two rapid response vehicles being removed from Chepstow and Monmouth ambulance stations, the meeting heard.
A petition against the plans signed by about 1,600 people was presented to council.
Council leader, Cllr Richard John, who put forward the motion, said the level of concern among the public about the cuts is ‘significant.’
“Since the news broke in January I have been contacted by numerous GPs, nurses and ambulance staff who are all extremely worried about these proposals and they believe that lives will be lost if these proposals are implemented,” Cllr John said.
He said removing the rapid response vehicles is “dangerous, reckless and will cost lives”.
Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, has said Monmouthshire would see a rise of five full-time employees as well as an increase in the number of emergency ambulances and urgent care service hours available as a result of the plans.
But Cllr Laura Jones, who represents Wyesham ward, called the plans “disastrous and dangerous”.
“I think centralising this service is not only wrong and life-threatening, I feel that it once again shows the lack of understanding from those above of the rural areas and its needs,” she said.
Chepstow councillor Paul Pavia said more rapid response vehicles were needed in Monmouthshire given the elderly demographic and size of the county.
“It’s absolutely scandalous we have got a Manchester-based company undertaking this national roster review for the Welsh Ambulance Service and they seem to be completely ignoring the circumstances and views of the local community in Monmouthshire,” he said.
Monmouth councillor Richard Roden said the plans would “inevitably cause delays and cost lives”.
Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, the council’s Labour group leader, also supported the motion.
Cllr Batrouni put forward an amendment to the motion, adding that the leader of the council meets with the chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service to discuss the plans, which was supported by councillors.
Cllr John said the motion sent “a powerful message that we will not stand by and see emergency services cut in our county”.
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