Halesworth paramedic not under threat

THE East of England Ambulance Service last night moved to reassure Halesworth residents that there are currently no plans to move its only paramedic, who has been based in the town for a decade.

Local people had expressed concern that the paramedic, who they have described as a “vital part of the community”, may be moved to Beccles following suggestions that more category A calls are being generated in the area. These are life-threatening calls of which 75pc should be met within eight minutes.

Halesworth Town Council vice- chairman James Wagner expressed concern about the possibility of losing the community paramedic, who he said had saved many lives.

He said: “Halesworth has the furthest travelling distance to any major hospital in the whole of England so it seems somewhat illogical to then do away with our only format of critical medical attention within the eight- minute time-frame.

“If he was to be placed at Beccles there is no way that a paramedic or ambulance would be able to reach us in less than eight minutes. We must not forget that he also covers Southwold and all the surrounding areas – this is a vast area. To lose him from our community would be unthinkable. He is a very well-liked and respected paramedic working out of hours on many occasions to tend to people in need. We need people like this in our town, we don’t need to lose them.”

Last night the East of England Ambulance Service said there were currently no plans to move the paramedic, but added that the service reserved the right to review its workforce regularly.

Paul Bassett, general manager (operations) in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “There are no plans at present to move the community paramedic from Halesworth. However, like all organisations, we need to use our resources to benefit the whole community and reserve the right to review our workforce regularly, and place people where they are most needed when there are changes in demand for our services.”