With pressure on funding, the South West Ambulance Service is expected to continue with its plan to withdraw the Swanage-based Purbeck Ambulance Car.
The rapid response vehicle enables paramedics to get quickly to people in Swanage in an emergency, often before an ambulance, which are regularly outside Purbeck taking people to hospital.
The Purbeck Ambulance Car was first introduced to the area in 2008 due to the overnight closure of the Swanage Cottage Hospital Minor Injuries Unit and the paramedics continue to provide overnight emergency medical care for the town.
Highly regarded and much-loved
The highly regarded and much-loved paramedics also support the local doctors’ surgeries by making home visits to patients. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the team has provided the community with a huge sense of reassurance and people in Swanage have demonstrated their thanks by dropping off chocolate and cakes to help everyone keep going through this difficult time.
The South West Ambulance Service had intended to withdraw the service from Monday 1st April 2020, but it was given a two month stay of execution after the Swanage Town Council learnt of the plans and acted quickly to ensure that in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the car was retained.
Reviewed in June
It’s now understood that the decision will be reviewed in June 2020.
With the expected closure of Accident and Emergency at Poole Hospital making the need for local emergency provision even more pressing, the chair of Swanage Area Forum, Melvyn Norris has launched a petition to save the ambulance car. The online petition has already got over 2,000 signatures. He said:
“It is a matter of life and death for us to retain this essential service”
He argues that there are four good reasons to retain the Purbeck Ambulance Car:
- Provides a rapid response (as nearer and faster) to save life in an emergency pending arrival of the ambulance
- Treats the 50 percent of patients who do not need to go to hospital at the scene, avoiding unnecessary journeys to Poole and protecting hospital resources
- Provides a replacement service when the Swanage Minor Injuries Unit is closed from 8 pm to 8 am
- Supports Purbeck GP home visits, helping to ensure that these are covered. Indeed, we believe that the Purbeck GP’s are open to looking at making a contribution towards retaining the ambulance car.
Swanage News has contacted South West Ambulance Service for its response but it has, so far, not replied.
A spokesperson for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“At this point, Dorset is utilising any resources in the best way we can based on the availability of staff and the prioritisation. A decision will be made on the Purbeck car in the future, and we are not able to comment further at this stage.”
For more information
Swanage Area Forum works to involve, empower and improve the quality of life for people in Swanage.
NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group manages the contracts with medical suppliers in support of its key mission to support people in Dorset to lead healthier lives, for longer.