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Six out of ten full-time Essex ambulance crews cut
SIX out of ten full-time ambulance crews in north Essex will be cut, it has been revealed.
The East of England Ambulance Service has to make £50million savings and is reducing the number of ambulance crews on the road for 24 hours.
There will be an increase in part-time ambulance staff, rapid response vehicles and emergency care assistants to make up for the loss of fully-crewed ambulances.
Staff have been told about the cuts at special briefings, but the details have not been made public.
The Gazette revealed on Friday the overall number of full-time ambulances will be reduced in October, and can now reveal where the cuts will be made: n The ambulance station in Halstead Road, Colchester, will go from three full-time ambulances to one, with some extra part-time cover.
n Clacton will lose one of its two full-time ambulances with some part-time cover.
n Weeley is set to lose both full-time ambulances and Frinton will lose its only full-time ambulance.
An ambulance worker, who asked for his identity to be protected, said: “Without being too dramatic, the risk of patients dying due to lack of ambulances is going to be much higher now – that’s the bottom line.
“You can’t take emergency 24-hour ambulances out of the Colchester and Tendring area and expect not to have some fall out.
“At the moment, we are struggling to meet demand with patients being left hours on end because of the lack of resources.”
The source said morale was at rock bottom among crews, adding: “People go into the ambulance service to do a job and they feel they can’t do that job to the best of their ability because they are not being given the resources.”
Staffing levels at the trust are also expected to fall by 260.
A spokesman for the trust said: “It is true that providing blanket cover, regardless of whether or not it is needed, is no longer a viable option in light of this situation.
“We are taking resources out of times and areas where there is not enough demand to justify putting them there and putting more when and where they are needed.”