A Brent Council committee called for the “formal” closure of an ambulance station to be paused to allow for further engagement with residents and stakeholders.
Its community and wellbeing scrutiny committee addressed the future of Wembley Ambulance Station, in Chaplin Road, Wembley, at a meeting last night.
This follows an announcement that it is to be closed at the end of the financial year to allow NHS Property Services to redevelop the site, with staff “formally vacating” on December 1.
Councillors suggested further information should be made available before any changes are made, including the impact this will have on ambulance services in the borough.
Khadir Meer, chief operating officer at London Ambulance Service (LAS), explained that services have been operating out of Kenton Ambulance Station since March as the Wembley site is “not fit for purpose”.
He said: “Although we call it an ambulance station, it is literally a garage.
“It’s been closed since March of this year. It’s a very old site owned by NHS property services, the lease is coming to an end and we’ve been asked to vacate.”
He added ambulance stations are “not healthcare settings”, with “99 per cent” of services carried out “on the road, 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.
Cllr Ketan Sheth, chairman of the scrutiny committee, questioned why the council had received news of the closure so late and called for greater consultation with the community.
Pauline Cranmer, director of ambulance services at LAS, noted that the level of service since March had been maintained, which was a key issue for the local NHS.
She said: “Our absolute priority is to make sure we deliver healthcare to Brent residents.
“In terms of consultation, it’s about making sure there is no change in the care we deliver.
“The fact is we’ve been operating out of a different site since March and we haven’t seen any detriment to the care we’ve provided to patients and communities in Brent.”
She added response times in the borough were still around 13 minutes, which was below the national standard of 18.
Despite these reassurances from ambulance service representatives, the committee recommended the formal closure be postponed for further discussion.
It also suggested NHS Property Services were approached to discuss the decision – and the future of the site – which, according to Mr Meer, is yet to be disclosed.
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