LETTER: Setting the record straight over 999 delay fears

Gildersome ambulance station on Wakefield Road, maybe closed and staff moved to South Leeds.
Gildersome ambulance station on Wakefield Road, maybe closed and staff moved to South Leeds.

Following publication of your frontpage story ‘999 Delay Fears’ (April 8 2015) I would like to set the record straight and most importantly reassure residents in the Morley area that they can be confident of continuing to receive a responsive 999 emergency service from us.

It’s important for people to understand that our ambulance stations are now effectively buildings where our vehicles are housed and where our staff start and finish their shifts; their location is no longer relevant to our ability to reach patients quickly. Like all modern-day ambulance services, our staff and vehicles very rarely respond to emergencies from ambulance stations. Instead they are deployed to a series of standby points across the region which are located in areas where we know they will be needed the most. These standby points are under constant review which allows us to ensure that our staff and vehicles are in the right place at the right time so that they can reach patients most quickly. I can confirm that the Gildersome area will continue to be served by a standby point so there will still be an emergency ambulance presence in the local community. We have worked closely with our staff throughout this process and they have been extremely supportive of the move to a new base station which is a purpose-built and modern facility in Beeston, Leeds. It is just 3.6 miles in distance from the site in Gildersome and the majority of staff will be travelling the same or less distance to work. I am keen to reiterate that, regardless of the change to the use of Gildersome Ambulance Station, local residents will not notice any difference to the service we provide to them. I give you my personal assurance that we will be there when people need us, providing a responsive, high quality ambulance service in the Morley area and putting patients’ needs first.

Rod Barnes

Interim Chief Executive. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.