West Midlands Ambulance Service is to make changes to the provision of ambulance services in Solihull in a bid to improve the care provided to patients.
Additional paramedics and ambulances will be made available to the Borough over the coming weeks. These will be funded by money saved by closing the base at Solihull Hospital which currently hosts three ambulances.
In 2019, the Trust responded to 32,522 cases in the Solihull area, yet only 13.6% of those cases were attended by the three ambulances based in the town; the other 86.3% were ambulances based at other sites such as Erdington Hub, but also others such as Coventry, Lichfield and Hollymoor.
Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “Buildings don’t save lives; ambulance staff and vehicles do. The Trust does not get value for money from the Solihull facility as it is empty most of the time. We will therefore invest all of the savings from closing Solihull into frontline services. The Borough will benefit from an increased number of staff and ambulances as a result of the change.
“Where an ambulance starts or finishes it’s shift really doesn’t matter; what matters is whether we are able to respond to patients in a timely manner. We are confident that the change will bring real benefits to patients.
“As a service we will always send the nearest available ambulance to each case. Once the Solihull ambulances transport a patient to A&E, most commonly at Heartlands Hospital, they will be tasked to the next case, even if that is not in Solihull. In the meantime, other ambulances will cover cases in Solihull. This explains why such a high proportion of incidents in Solihull are not attended by Solihull ambulances.
“I understand why people might initially be concerned by such a change, but ambulances have never been tied to the town. If all three ambulances from the town are with patients and a fourth case came in, as happens regularly, people would rightly expect support from another ambulance. This change simply ensures that that an ambulance will arrive sooner.”
Paul Jennings, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “I welcome more ambulance staff and ambulances being made available to help local people receive timely care and have better health outcomes, often at their time of greatest need.
“This change makes absolute sense and will enable West Midlands Ambulance Service to use its frontline resources more efficiently and effectively, for everyone’s benefit.”