Thursday, 2nd October 2014

Ambulance on the move to new HQ

AMBULANCE staff in Newport could be on the move after a planning application was submitted for a new home at the town’s Cottage Care Centre.

Both the ambulance and the response car that covers the Newport area have been based at the town’s fire station, on Salters Lane, for the past four years.

But bosses now need a new permanent home with the creation of an outbuilding on the grounds of the Newport Cottage Care Centre. They say the move will result in better efficiency for ambulance staff. West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Chris Kowalik, said “Our stay at Newport Fire Station was only meant to be temporary and the building isn’t suitable for our long term needs.

“Our move to the Cottage Care Centre would bring a brand new ambulance station to the town that is more centrally located which will help improve response times.

“We are obliged to provide a certain level of accommodation for our staff. We would be able to do that on the grounds of the Cottage Care Centre more cheaply than at the fire station.

“Any money we would have spent on building work will go on further improving the frontline ambulance service instead.”

Robert Marsh, Assistant Area Manager for the West Midlands Ambulance Service in Shropshire, said: “We can’t stay at the fire station any longer without making some major alterations.

“A move to the Newport Cottage Care Centre will be more cost effective and allows us to work within a health setting.

“If planning permission is granted, I am looking forward to having a long, successful and fruitful relationship with the accommodating and approachable people at the centre.”

John Airth, Trust Chairman at the centre, said the important thing was keeping an ambulance station in the town.

He said: “The trustees would be delighted if this application was passed so that we can have an ambulance in the town when it is needed most.

“We were approached by the ambulance service to see if we could come to some arrangement that would allow them to have a base here covering the Newport area.

“The last thing we’d want is the base to be in somewhere like Donnington which meant the ambulance had to travel 10 minutes to get here.

“The public in Newport do so much for the Cottage Care Centre and this is our way of giving something back.”