Concerns raised over closure of ambulance station

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Fears have been raised that lives will be put at risk when a temporary ambulance station closes its doors.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is planning to close the doors on its temporary station in Blyth next week, bringing with it concerns that the response time to emergencies in thetown will increase.

From Monday the staff will be based in Ashington but will also have use of Blyth Community Hospital.

A member of staff from NEAS, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Blyth will be left without any ambulance cover.

“It’s a busy town and has emergency call-outs and they’re going to be relocated to Ashington – a much longer distance to get to anyone who lives in Blyth.

“You can’t get to Blyth in eight minutes, and that is the time they are given.

“They won’t be able to get there in that time, there is no way we can get there on this planet.

“I want my family covered and they’re not going to be.

“It is a disgrace, and it’s all money saving.

“It’s no longer about patient care, it’s about meeting targets.

“It’s about people’s lives at the end of the day.”

A North East Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “NEAS is constantly reviewing where its stations are located to provide the best possible coverage to the people of the north east.

“We have been operating from a temporary building in Blyth for a number of years and are currently looking for a more permanent solution.

“In the interim period, the ambulances will continue to use the existing stand-by point in Blyth and we will also be using Blyth Community Hospital as a base.

“We are continuing to explore other options with partners in the Blyth area to accommodate a more permanent solution.

“The only change to ambulance provision in Blyth is to have the vehicle starting and finishing in Ashington.

“We do not expect the new arrangements to have any impact on response times.”