33 emergency staff to move to Bristol centre
THE ambulance service has announced it will be moving an emergency operations team to Bristol as part of its efforts to save money.
Great Western Ambulance Service will move a team of 33 staff from the Devizes centre to its Almondsbury Acuma House control room within six months in a move aimed at saving the NHS trust £700,000 a year.
The closure of the Wiltshire centre, which sends paramedics out to emergencies, is part of a ten-year plan to consider the future of buildings used and owned by the service.
As previously reported in the Post, the review includes deciding the future of the central Bristol ambulance station in Marybush Lane, which was the base for the Avon service before it merged with the neighbouring Gloucestershire and Wiltshire services in 2006 and needs more than £1 million of maintenance work.
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When the trust launched the project to review its buildings last year it said there was a maintenance backlog costing £2.5 million across its 35 bases, with the Bristol station accounting for a significant chunk of that total.
A spokesman for GWAS said a decision had not yet been made on the future of the site near Castle Park.
Ken Wenman, chief executive of the service, said: "Since 2008 all incoming 999 calls to the trust have been answered in our Acuma House facility.
"This is an accredited international centre of excellence and the only emergency control room in Europe to receive that accreditation four times in a row."
All NHS trusts are working towards savings plans and the transfer from Devizes to Almondsbury will count towards the £4.3 million for the 2013/14 financial year.
"Throughout the process that has led to this decision, we have involved and engaged staff affected by the change and will continue to do so. This is to ensure the transfer of activity to Acuma House is achieved smoothly with no loss of service to patients," Mr Wenman said.
"Also, we are keen to retain the expertise and commitment of existing Wiltshire EOC staff, so will be working hard to support them to transfer."