UNION officers have slammed cuts to the East of England Ambulance Trust, saying they will put patients at risk.
The Trust is required to make savings of over £50 million over five years due to government spending cuts.
Plans to save money include assessing more patients over the phone so they can be referred to the correct health service, thereby freeing up ambulances and leaving vacant posts, some of which the Trust can put back into rural areas.
Ambulance spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “It means we can continue providing an excellent, safe service in a sustainable manner, cutting down on inappropriate ambulance dispatches and unnecessary hospital admissions and allowing our clinicians to concentrate on patients who really need them.”
The impact of these changes to services are being closely monitored.
According to Unison, Bedfordshire will see a 25 per cent reduction in transportable ambulances in Kempston.
Unison branch secretary Gary Applin said: “The proposed scaling down of resources across all areas will put patients at risk. The Trust’s own figures show that in many areas, staffing levels will be below what is needed for many hours of the day. In rural areas, patients will wait for longer for any member of Trust staff to attend in an emergency and even then it is likely that will be a solo responder and therefore incapable of transporting them straight to hospital.
“We urge Trust management to develop alternative proposals and the Conservative/Lib Dem government to reverse the spending cuts for Ambulance Trusts. The public are going to suffer because of these cuts.”