THE CLOSURE of the Rugby Community Ambulance Station (RCAS) has again been raised in Parliament, as Rugbeians report waiting for ambulances for up to five hours.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey asked the Prime Minister why the West Midlands Ambulance Service was closing up to 10 community stations – including the RCAS, the base of the only ambulance which started and ended its shift in Rugby, which closed in September.
Since the closure, Rugbeians on social media have reported a number of incidents where injured people were left waiting for ambulances in public places for up to five hours.
In October, NHS data showed UK ambulance response times were the longest since current records began in August 2017.
Lib Dem Coun Tim Douglas, who represents Paddox ward on Rugby Borough Council, said: “Residents in Rugby are rightly worried about closures of ambulance services.
“For too long Rugby has been taken for granted, St Cross Hospital has been downgraded over the years, GPs are under pressure and now A&E wait times are getting out of hand. People deserve better.
“If the Conservatives are serious about ‘levelling up’ then they should be doing more to support residents and provide Rugby with the services that it deserves.”
A petition opposing the closure of the RCAS, which was presented to the House of Commons by Rugby MP Mark Pawsey in September, has now been signed by over 5,500 people.
Rugby resident Alison Livesey, who organised the petition, sent it to West Midlands Ambulance service back in September.
She said: “To date I have had no acknowledgement of that petition – and no response from them. They have completely ignored the people of Rugby in this matter and didn’t even give us the time of day.”
Mr Pawsey also wrote to WMAS challenging the rationale for the closure, and urged it to look at ways in which emergency care services in Rugby can be enhanced as the town grows.
He also raised the matter in the House of Commons with Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, highlighting the lack of consultation around the proposed closure.
In Parliament, Mr Davey said: “Ambulance response times are now the worst ever, people are waiting for ambulances longer than ever, and patients are stuck in ambulances outside hospitals longer than ever.
“Waiting times are not statistics; they are about people – people often in great pain and in danger – so why are this Government closing ambulance stations in parts of our country?”
Boris Johnson replied that £450million was awarded to 120 trusts to upgrade their facilities, and £36billion raised from a National Insurance hike would go towards easing the NHS backlog.
A WMAS spokesman said the number of ambulances operating in the area would not decrease, adding that the ambulance based at RCAS only attended 3.4 per cent of call-outs in Rugby over the first six months of the year.