Following the story in the Andover Advertiser, I raised with the Hampshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust the future of Andover Ambulance Station.
This is the reply which I received. I am pursuing with Mrs Severgnini the question as to whether the Strategic Plan is driven by the need to make economies, or to drive up the quality of service.
Hampshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Hampshire SO22 5DH
15 October 2004
Dear Sir George
Thank you for your recent letter regarding the lead story in the Andover Advertiser by Steve Darcy.
The document to which he refers in his article is the Trust's Strategic Development Plan 2004/5- 2009/10 This document can be viewed on the Trust's website www.hampshireambulance.nhs.uk or I can arrange for a hard copy to be sent to you if you prefer .
The Strategic Development Plan outlines a number of key-change strategies which the Trust is pursuing to achieve improved performance, patient care and modernisation. One of the key change strategies is regarding our estate, we currently have 19 ambulance stations some of which are in a poor state of repair and others are probably in the wrong location. Many members of the public do not realise that ambulance stations are vehicle collection points and for some of our crews, meal break points. The Trust uses a System Status Plan (SSP) which places ambulances strategically across the county on a daily basis and we actually despatch our vehicles (or activate) against the SSP and not from ambulance stations. The location of our vehicles during each shift is important to patient care and not the exact ambulance station location.
To answer your query regarding Andover we need to ensure that we are available to respond to life threatening incidents within 8 minutes. There is a cluster of activity that occurs around Andover therefore as part of our SSP we would locate vehicles nearby in order to respond to anticipated demand. If the Trust took the decision not to keep the current ambulance station it is more than likely that we would re-provide an appropriate service standby point for crews who were operating in and around the Andover area.
I hope that I have been able to address your immediate concerns and I would of course be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue in more detail.
Mrs Claire L Severgnini