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Ambulance protest march next week

4th July 2008 @ 7:07am – by Audlem Webteam
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The ambulance service provided by the NWAS continues to dominate the local press. This week, the Chronicle's front page lead story reports on a protest march in Nantwich now planned for Friday 11th July – starting at 12 noon from Barony Park. Aimed to stop the downgrading of the First Responder scheme, the newspaper says it could be the biggest protest in the town's recent history.

One of the organisers, Nicola Tooke, says: "I've never known such strong feeling in Nantwich. People are furious. We need as many as possible to come along." Crewe & Nantwich MP Edward Timpson is attending after changing appointments so he can join the march.

Last week's Nantwich Guardian also led on the ambulance service, focusing on Audlem's role in pressurising NWAS chiefs because of their plans to downgrade the village's First Responder scheme where volunteers have just started their training. Cllr Mike Hill's letter to NWAS chief executive John Burnside is quoted where he urges the service to delay changing the First Responder scheme until the NWAS is hitting its ambulance targets.

The NWAS stories first erupted in Audlem over eighteen months ago when an ambulance took 70 minutes to reach an emergency call in the village. A series of subsequent lengthy waits has led to the village's problems being raised on Granada TV in a discussion between Mr Burnside and local MP Stephen O'Brien as well the public meeting in Audlem last June.

The statistics now being sent to Audlem Parish Council by the NWAS on response times have raised a number of serious queries. While there have been regular disputes over the time it has taken ambulances to arrive, even more critically, some ambulance statistics given to Audlem Parish Council don't tally with statements given to the media by the NWAS themselves. These questions will be followed up, we are assured, by councillors and pressure will continue to be put on NWAS to improve its service.

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