Demolition paves way for new Blackpool Ambulance Station

Demolition of Blackpool Ambulance Station is well underway in preparation for construction of a new three-storey emergency facility.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:51 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:52 pm

Ambulance crews are now operating out of a temporary base on the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital in North Shore while redevelopment of the Waterloo Road site in South Shore takes place.

The changes were revealed in February 2021 by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) with the council approving the plans last June, and building work due to be completed by the end of 2022.

It will herald the adoption of a new way of operating which includes the closure of four Fylde coast ambulance stations at Fleetwood, Lytham, Wesham and Thornton.

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Artist's impression of the new ambulance station

Instead crews will start their shifts from sites including health centres, fire stations and police stations.

The Waterloo Road station will become a ‘Make Ready Hub’ meaning a specialist team will take over duties including stocking the ambulance, vehicle maintenance checks and deep cleaning.

This is work currently completed by crews but in future they will be able to report to work and be immediately available to respond to patients.

The new station will also boast improved staff, office, training and parking facilities, as well as efficient energy, heating and lighting controls.

NWAS head of service for Cumbria and Lancashire Gene Quinn said: “Following the months of preparatory work, it’s exciting to see work beginning on-site.

“While it will seem like an end of an era for many, the future is very exciting, especially for the staff who will benefit from the new modern work environment when it is completed.

“The building like the smaller stations in the area needed repair and was no longer fit for purpose.

“We are delighted to be able to offer staff who work incredibly hard a much improved environment to enjoy their breaks as well train and develop their skills.”

The new Waterloo Road station will operate as part of a hub and spoke model meaning the eventual phased closure of stations in Fleetwood, Lytham, Wesham and Thornton.

Gene added: “This model was introduced in Greater Manchester five years ago, and we’ve seen no negative impact on local communities where stations closed.

“In most cases, when people call for an ambulance, it isn’t dispatched from a local station.

“In fact, in Fylde and Wyre, more than 60 per cent of despatches occur while the ambulance is on the road. Crews rarely go back to their base stations before the end of the shifts except for their allocated breaks.

“Because of this, we are confident that the public will see no adverse difference in response times, and the community will have the same number of resources available to them as they do now.

“They will just start their shift from a ‘spoke’ site in the community rather than a bricks and mortar ambulance station.”

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