Measures will boost ambulance response times across the Fylde coast

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More than 200 additional hours of ambulance cover will be available this winter on the Fylde coast – meaning more of the sickest patients can receive an emergency response.

The extra cover is thanks to two new ambulances which will provide 168 hours of cover per week, plus changes in working patterns adding an extra 42 hours of cover.

The boost comes just months after a new ambulance station opened in Blackpool, with work currently underway to recruit crews for the new ambulances.

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However delays in handing patients over once ambulances arrive at hospital continue to impact the service.

Photo Neil Cross; Blackpool Ambulance Station,  Waterloo Road, BlackpoolPhoto Neil Cross; Blackpool Ambulance Station,  Waterloo Road, Blackpool
Photo Neil Cross; Blackpool Ambulance Station, Waterloo Road, Blackpool

Details were revealed in the annual North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) report to Blackpool Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee.

The report says: “This additional 210 hours of newly funded cover (about nine per cent increase on our current cover in the area) will support our response to some of the sickest patients in the area.

“We are in the process of recruiting additional EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and paramedics and procuring the new vehicles to allow us to phase these resources in over the winter months.

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“We have also recruited additional clinicians for our control centre to allow us to manage more patients over the telephone when their clinical needs can be met without deploying an ambulance for a face-to-face assessment.”

Two new ambulances are being added to the Fylde coast fleetTwo new ambulances are being added to the Fylde coast fleet
Two new ambulances are being added to the Fylde coast fleet

According to the report there are currently 15 emergency ambulances, two rapid response vehicles, 16 senior/advanced paramedics, 77 paramedics, 58 emergency medical technicians of which 12 are student paramedics, on the Fylde coast.

Handover delays are blamed on shortages in social care meaning patients cannot be discharged and hospital beds are full.

For one week in September, the time lost due to delayed handovers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital was around 240 hours.

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New ambulance station

NWAS opened its new ambulance station on Waterloo Road, South Shore, in March as part of its change to a ‘hub and spoke’ system.

Fleetwood, Lytham, Thornton and Wesham ambulance stations are all being closed with crews based at alternative ‘spoke’ sites instead.

The report adds: “One of the key features is the ‘make ready’ facility, which ensures that ambulances are deep cleaned, maintenance checked, fully stocked with equipment and medicines and are ready go operational to respond to patients without a clinician having to undertake these checks first.

” It also means that in the event a vehicle has to be removed from operation, a fast turnaround can ensure the clinicians are back on the road responding to patients without any significant delays.”

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All staff are based at Blackpool Ambulance Station and take ambulances from there to start their shifts at ‘spoke’ sites in the surrounding areas.

What is happening to the other ambulance stations?

  • Thornton – It is proposed to lease a newly built unit on Bristol Avenue in Bispham. This will be a combined Thornton and Bispham site. It is hoped it will be ready for use by early December.
  • Fleetwood – Space is set to be leased at the former Fleetwood Hospital, hopefully for use by early December.
  • Wesham – Discussions are taking place with Lancashire Police around potentially co-locating at their Kirkham site on Freckleton Street.
  • Lytham – The station has now been closed and the spoke is now fully operational at Clifton Hospital in St Annes.