Ambulances to be based at fire stations in Uttlesford to improve response times


Ambulance - Credit: Archant

Paramedics will base themselves at five fire stations across Essex to improve response times after a pilot scheme was deemed successful.

Ambulance crews have so far used Frinton and Old Harlow fire stations as “dynamic activation points” during the initial stage of the response hubs scheme.

From Monday (August 17), the project was extended to Newport, Thaxted, Chelmsford, Great Baddow and Braintree fire stations, which were chosen to help improve response times to patients.

The move will see paramedics use the fire station’s toilet facilities, rest areas and to have light refreshments. Crews will have a dedicated parking area and have access to the station between 6am and 2am.

Assistant divisional officer Mark Wilby, Essex Fire and Rescue Service project manager, said: “The facility allows the ambulance service to have more people in the right places when they are needed and should get ambulances to people quicker. It has already been successful in the first two locations so now we are extending the scheme further across the county.

“Firefighters very often work alongside ambulance teams at the scene of road traffic collisions and by providing ambulance colleagues with a bolt hole, there will be the positive practical benefits but also the move should help to develop relationships on the ground and potentially lead to greater understanding.

“The service already shares facilities with partners and we are pleased to be able to build on our relationships and work more closely with other blue light colleagues in this way.”

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Sandra Chick, East of England Ambulance Service senior locality manager for Mid Essex, said: “This is a great opportunity, not only to improve response times but also in terms of expanding partnership working across the county and making the best use of resources.”

The pilot is expected to run until the end of the year. If successful, the two services may expand the venture further under more commercial terms, possibly as an income-generation opportunity for the fire brigade.