Swanage Ambulance Car meeting to take place, as chorus of protest grows

Ahead of the first meeting to decide the future of the Swanage and Purbeck Ambulance Car, Craig Martin from South Western Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) met with the Mayor of Swanage, local residents and school children to hear how crucial the car is to the community.

SWAST who provides the car and NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group who provides the funding, are to meet via Zoom with Swanage Town Council on Tuesday 25th May 2021.

Swanage Ambulance Car

Swanage and Purbeck Ambulance Car

Mayor and SWAST judge save the ambulance car competition

SWAST’s Deputy County Commander for Dorset, Craig Martin and Swanage Mayor, councillor Mike Bonfield choosing the winner of the ambulance car colouring competition at Swanage Primary School

Round the clock emergency care across Purbeck

The car, which provides round the clock emergency care across Purbeck, is at risk of being removed after health bosses decided to scrap the service in early 2020 and put the money towards general ambulance provision.

However due to the public outcry and the start of the Covid pandemic, the car was allowed to remain but now there is a review to decide its long term future.

The service has been in place since 2008, when the overnight provision at the Swanage Hospital minor injuries unit was closed. The car also provides out of hours cover and home visits for the local GP surgeries.

Unlike ambulances, it does not usually take patients to hospital in Dorchester, Poole or Bournemouth, so it is able to get quickly to Purbeck residents suffering medical emergencies.

SWAST’s Deputy County Commander for Dorset, Craig Martin, Swanage Primary School Headteacher Martin Godfrey and Swanage Mayor, councillor Mike Bonfield

Swanage Primary School pupils, Margot, Ocean, Huxley, Oliver and Liam

Visited Swanage Primary School

SWAST’s Deputy County Commander for Dorset, Craig Martin first visited Swanage Primary School where he, along with Swanage Mayor, councillor Mike Bonfield were able to see all the children’s ambulance car colouring competition entries.

There were prizes for Adam in year 5, Liam in Year 4 and Phoebe in Year 1.

Next it was onto the ambulance station in Queen’s Road in Swanage, where local residents had gathered to perform their Save the Ambulance car song, written by Carlotta Barrow and set to music by Joe and Hannah Arnold in collaboration with Tim Arnold.

The overall winning entry by Adam in Year 5 at Swanage Primary School

The team behind the Save our Ambulance Car song – Tim Arnold and Carlotta Barrow with Joe and Hannah Arnold and their baby

“We need this vital service”

Swanage Town Council has pledged to fight to retain the ambulance car. Councillor Debby Monkhouse, who leads on the Swanage Town Council Emergency Health Services working party said:

“Without our car, the health of both residents and visitors would be in peril. There is a loud chorus of voices from our parish and town councils, children, parents, workers, care home residents, the clinically vulnerable, those who have suffered accidents and local businesses, who are all united in saying that we need this vital service.”

“It’s really difficult to determine what is the right resource”

SWAST’s Craig Martin told Swanage.News:

“All of our assets are important to us and we very much appreciate all of the staff that provide those services.

“It’s really difficult to determine what is the right resource and it wouldn’t be right for me to say which this is – that’s what the clinical commissioning group is reviewing. Hopefully with the engagement of the local community, they’ll be able to work through that scenario.”

Swanage Ambulance Car campaign

Lawrie Sandford, who credits the ambulance car with saving the life of his son, presenting SWAST’s Craig Martin with the cover of the booklet which tells the stories of people who have benefitted from the ambulance car

“We want to take the opportunity to hear views on the Purbeck Car”

In an official statement from Dorset CCG and SWAST, they said:

“Representatives from NHS Dorset CCG and the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are set to meet with representatives from Swanage Town Council on Tuesday 25th May 2021 for a listening meeting.

“We want to take the opportunity to hear views on the Purbeck Car and help inform our thinking. We know how important it is to the community of Purbeck to have reassurance around the ongoing provision of healthcare services in the area. We understand how much the local community is interested in the future of the vehicle.”

Swanage Ambulance Car competition
Swanage Ambulance Car competition

Watch the Save our Ambulance Car song

It was performed outside the ambulance station in Queen’s Road in Swanage.

Help with the video

The team who produced the song would like the Swanage community to join in to help create a video. To find out how, watch this film that they have made.


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