3rd May 2022
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Health Secretary Sajid Javid to promise to not close another Ambulance Station without a proper assessment as it has been revealed West Midlands Ambulance Service - his own local service - have closed 57 in the last 5 years.
The Freedom of Information request, submitted by the Liberal Democrats, was sent to all ambulance trusts in the UK. The request showed the West Midlands as a huge outlier with London only seeing two stations close, and neighbouring East Midlands seeing only one planned station closure.
The response from West Midlands shows that a staggering 18 stations were closed in 2017, 15 in 2018, 12 across 2019/20 and 12 last year in 2021. The Trust said that it has no planned closures this year.
This comes after the latest ambulance response times increased in March 2022 and are not the longest on record. In the West Midlands, response times were especially poor, with people suffering emergencies like strokes and heart attacks waiting almost an hour for attention. Even more shockingly, 1 in 10 people are waiting well over 2 hours for an ambulance.
The Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan has slammed the Conservatives and Health Secretary Sajid Javid who shares the West Midlands ambulance service area, arguing the buck stops with them to review ambulance station closures.
It comes with the local elections just weeks away. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a national Community Ambulance Fund so local ambulance trusts across the country can reopen ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where desirable.
Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan said, “The Conservatives continued failure to address shockingly high ambulance waiting times is horrendous and exactly why they lost the North Shropshire by-election, they cannot afford to ignore this issue.
“The extremely high number of stations closed in comparison to the rest of the country shows that the West Midlands has been completely taken for granted by this Government.
“Almost everyday residents get in touch with me and I hear stories of people who have waited far too long for an ambulance - for this to happen in the Health Secretary’s backyard is either sheer ignorance or an utter failure of leadership.
“Sajid Javid needs to get his own house in order: he needs to review the closure of ambulance stations, reopen stations where they are needed in our area, and invest in a Community Ambulance Fund. We simply cannot go on like this.”