South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon ‘shocked to learn’ future of Diss Ambulance station could be in doubt – and wants to see greater detail in proposals

Diss Ambulance Station.
Diss Ambulance Station.
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South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon says it was a “shock to learn” the future of Diss’s Ambulance Station could be in doubt.

Earlier this month the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) announced plans to remodel its facilities.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon.

Bosses at the trust describe the new plans, signed off at a board meeting at the end of March, as a hub and spoke model, with 18 hubs supporting clusters of community ambulance stations.

The report identifies potential capital receipts of £11million from surplus properties owned by EEAST.

The Diss Express understands the town’s station is owned by EEAST, while Attleborough’s is leased.

A spokesperson for EEAST said there was no further information at this time, and insisted the strategy is not a closure programme.

MPs meet with ambulance bosses regularly and I will expect a lot more detail to be forthcoming at our next meeting

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk

Writing in his Diss Express column, Mr Bacon said: “It was a shock to learn that the future of Diss’ Ambulance Station could be in doubt.

“Early proposals are for 18 ambulance ‘hub’ depots with a network of ‘Community Ambulance Stations’ connected to each hub.

“Although the Trust’s Board began considering its new estates strategy last month, it’s too early to say what these plans will mean for Diss.

“The Ambulance Trust’s priority must be getting emergency medical care to patients quickly, delivered by highly trained and well-supported paramedics in modern, well-equipped vehicles.

“Anything else has to be a secondary consideration and I want to see the Trust’s proposals set out in much greater detail before I make a judgement.

“MPs meet with ambulance bosses regularly and I will expect a lot more detail to be forthcoming at our next meeting.”

Simon Morley, a paramedic based at Diss Ambulance Station, said staff had not received “concrete information” on the plan from bosses.

“Morale is very poor, staff feel that they are not being kept informed about the Trust’s plans,” he said. “None of us knows if we’ll even have somewhere local to report to, or whether we’ll have to travel to the proposed hubs to start our shifts.

“Probably more distressing is that most of us live and work in our communities and fear for the safety of local people.

“Rural cover is already pretty sparse and these plans seem to be badly thought out and geared towards savings rather than better care.

“Mr Bacon has always worked very hard on our behalf and for the best interests of his constituents. He seems to be being kept in the dark as much as we are, which is worrying.”