Ambulance service moves to reassure public amidst latest claims of night time cuts in Flintshire
The Welsh Ambulance Service has been forced once again, to dismiss claims by Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd that night-time ambulance cover in Flintshire will be cut by 25%.
The claims were initially made in early March by Mr Gruffydd, he said that one of the four night-time ambulances covering Flintshire was to be withdrawn by Welsh Ambulance Services Trust management at 2am from April.
The claim was quickly slapped down by Welsh Ambulance Service who said no ambulance hours are being lost in county; Welsh Ambulance bosses dismiss claims of a cut to night-time ambulance cover in Flintshire
Since then, Mr Gruffydd submitted a freedom of information request to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust which does appear to show a reduction in the number of night time ambulances in Flintshire however, an additional ‘noon’ shift has been added.
Mr Gruffydd said the new information confirmed the Welsh Ambulance Trust plans to reduce cover by a half on Monday nights and a quarter for five other nights from next month.
The Plaid Cymru AM also said analysis of figures show that crews from outside Flintshire are dealing with 22 calls a day from Flintshire – a total of 8,081 in 2016.
More than half of those were crews from Wrexham – who dealt with 4,308 calls in a year – followed by Denbighshire’s crews with 2,441.
“This clearly shows that there is a capacity problem in Flintshire itself as it is drawing on services in neighbouring counties and this, in turn, has a knock-on effect with crews in Denbighshire and Wrexham bearing the brunt. With that in mind, I’m hoping WAST can provide a simple explanation as to why night-time services are being cut in Flintshire rather than playing with words as they did last time”
With that in mind, I’m hoping WAST can provide a simple explanation as to why night-time services are being cut in Flintshire rather than playing with words as they did last time” said Mr Gruffydd.
Mr Gruffydd’s claims have surfaced in an article published by the Daily Post today April 13;
Plans to slash night-time ambulance cover in Flintshire slated amid safety fears
The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) responded to the news story saying “once again, we’d like to reassure the community that categorically no ambulance hours or crews are being lost in Flintshire.”
In a statement posted on the ambulance service website today Thursday, April 13 titled, BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Trial changes to shift patterns in Flintshire.
WAST say they are trialling changes to shift start and finish times using existing crews and vehicles to make them available at times when people need our services most.’ the statement says.
‘What we are doing right across Wales is trialling some changes to shift start and finish times using existing crews and vehicles to make them available at times when people need our services most.’
Since we first received a media enquiry from the Daily Post, a discussion has been held between North Wales Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd and the Trust’s Director of Operations Richard Lee, and as a result he now has a better understanding of the objectives of these changes. Say WAST.
Currently, four ambulances work a night shift, typically 6pm – 6am every night of the week from Dobshill.
From April, a new shift pattern trial began whereby some of the ambulance crews that would ordinarily work a night shift would instead work an afternoon shift, typically 2pm – 2am when evidence suggest there is higher demand says WAST.
MONDAY Currently, four ambulances work a night shift. From April, two of those four ambulances would work an afternoon shift and two of those would continue to work at night.
WEDNESDAY Currently, four ambulance work a night shift. From April, one of those four would work an afternoon shift and three of those would continue to work at night.
SUNDAY Currently, four ambulance work a night shift. From April, four ambulances continue to work a night shift.
The aim say WAST is the shift pattern will “result in an improved service for patients by providing the right level of coverage at the right times.”
The Trust says they trial shift patterns have been agreed with staff representatives and will be reviewed during and at the end of the trial period.