East of England Ambulance Service to start sharing Sudbury Fire Station in 2018
Sudbury ambulance station will close in the new year and paramedics will start sharing a base with the town’s firefighters.
The move is part of a ‘blue light collaboration’ scheme, which is set to see half of Suffolk’s 35 fire stations also utilised by police or ambulance teams by next year.
Bosses from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) assured there would be no change in resourcing levels in Sudbury as a result of the development.
Glenn Young, EEAST sector head for Suffolk and North Essex, said: “As part of a blue light collaboration with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service we are looking to co-locate with the fire service in Sudbury.
“Our old Sudbury station is no longer fit for purpose.
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“The fire station is a newer site and provides better overall facilities for staff.
“We see this as a very positive move and builds upon our existing partnership with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.”
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Sudbury town councillors have shown their backing for the move.
Jan Osborne said: “The area they [EEAST] have at the minute is very cramped and when they do need to come out of there it’s quite often very busy with traffic.
“The fire station is a much better area for them to be in.
“I’m fully supportive of them working together as the facilities at the fire station are reasonably new, a much better working environment for the ambulance staff.
“However, we have got to be mindful that we retain our ambulance staff because we need them, but I don’t think that’s a risk.”
Jack Owen said the move should not impact too heavily on firefighters based in the town because they were all on-call.
He added: “It’s something that has gone through the county council without any major objections so I don’t think I have a right to object, unless either of the services struggle as a result.”
EEAST already uses other fire stations in Suffolk, including Brandon, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
Reflecting on the benefits of the blue light scheme, a Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “This saves money from the public purse, otherwise used for the cost of running multiple buildings, and enables emergency services to work closely together in supporting the community they serve.”