Delight as three East Midlands Ambulance Service stations saved from closure
Health campaigners are celebrating saving three ambulance stations which had been threatened with closure.
East Midlands Ambulance Service last year proposed to replace nine ambulance stations in the county with two "super-stations".
The plans prompted a series of protests and petitions by campaigners determined to save the stations in Hinckley, Market Harborough and Melton.
Now, the Emas board is expected to agree revised proposals at its meeting on March 25.
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The new plan will still see one super-station created at Gorse Hill, in Anstey, but the upgrade of the Loughborough station into a super-station has been shelved.
A new station will be built at Ashby and the Hinckley, Market Harborough and Melton stations will be remain open.
However, the proposed closure of Coalville, Oakham, Syston, Narborough and Lutterworth stations will go ahead.
Hinckley campaigners, who raised nearly 1,000 signatures opposing closure, have welcomed the change of heart.
Borough councillor David Bill said: "We have had to work tremendously hard to achieve this. As soon as we became aware of the threat, we visited the Nottingham HQ of the ambulance service to put our case for the retention of the Hinckley."
Bosworth MP David Tredinnick said: "I held a number of top-level discussions with Emas telling them of people's worries in respect of response times if their original proposals had gone ahead, and I am extremely pleased they have listened and Hinckley will retain its ambulance station."
The Anstey super-station will act as a base for crews operating from a series of community sites across Leicestershire. It will also have maintenance facilities.
Bosses believe changes will help them achieve the targets of responding to 75 per cent of life-threatening calls within eight minutes and 95 per cent of less urgent calls within 19 minutes.
Councillor John Coxon, town council leader in Ashby which is to get a new station, said: "This is excellent news for the town and its surrounding area.
"We are delighted Emas has selected Ashby and we look forward to the decision being confirmed."
A series of public consultation events have taken place since the original proposals were announced.
Zuffar Haq, spokesman for the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel, said: "I have great faith in the chief executive of Emas, Phillip Milligan. He listened to concerns and responded accordingly. It is good news for patients."
Harborough councillor Sarah Hill said: "This is very good news for the county. It is good that Emas has listened to residents and reacted positively."
Colin Todd, regional organiser of union GMB, which had also protested against the closure, said he welcomed any improvements to the original proposals.
However, he said: "The new proposal is a massive reduction in stations. We are also concerned about the cost of this new plan. We hope Emas shares this with the people of the East Midlands before it is ratified."
Next Monday, Emas representatives will outline its fresh proposals to County Hall's adults, communities and health overview and scrutiny committee.
In the report to be discussed on March 11, Alan Schofield, director of corporate affairs at Emas, wrote: "If approved, it is hoped that the revised proposals will lead to improvement in the service that EMAS offer to the residents of Leicestershire."