Barnoldswick ambulance station to close?

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AMBULANCE, police and fire services in Barnoldswick could be combined under one roof to save money, an NHS Trust has revealed.

A major review by the North West Ambulance Service is considering the future of its 108 ambulance stations across the region, with Barnoldswick one of the first to be looked at.

The Trust has to make £10m. of savings each year for the next three years and says everything within the organisation is being looked at to cut costs.

And ambulance chiefs say the option of bringing the service currently based in Brogden View to the same site as the police station which is now in Rainhall Road and/or the fire station based in Wellhouse Road is being considered.

Alan Stuttard, Director of Finance for the North West Ambulance Service said: “In the current financial climate, as a responsible public sector organisation, NWAS must look at ways in which it can make efficiencies with minimum disruption to its front-line services.

“One area which is currently being reviewed is our estate.

“The Trust is exploring opportunities to move some stations to shared or other accommodation without affecting the performance or level of resources in the area.

“It’s important to remember it is not always the case that responding vehicles are from the nearest station.

“Other considerations are to ensure staff can be accommodated at appropriate sites and maintenance and running costs are minimised.

“This review is looking at all stations within the North West, and there is a possibility some ambulance stations will close, however no final decisions have been made.

“An example of this in East Lancashire is that positive, ongoing discussions are taking place with both the Police and Fire Service to look at a shared site in Barnoldswick.”

A spokesman for the NWAS said the review is a long process and no decisions regarding relocations or closures will be made until every aspect of the organisation has been looked at.

Pendle Coun. David Whipp said: “If they are looking at putting the ambulance or police with the fire service we will look at that on its own merits.

“I’ve asked for the issue to be discussed at the next Pendle Council West Craven Committee meeting to give it a good look over.

“If the suggestion is putting the fire, police and ambulance all together it might get a bit absurd.”