Local MP Stephen O'Brien was in Audlem on Friday evening for a constituency surgery which was held in the Public Hall. As well as discussing individual problems with constituents, he was briefed on three issues affecting the whole community.
He heard how Parish Councillor Mike Hill has been engaged in lengthy correspondence with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) over the planned downgrading of the Cheshire First Responder Service. This is causing considerable concern in Audlem where a scheme with local volunteers is due to start shortly. Stephen O'Brien, as the Shadow Health Minister, an Opposition role that includes ambulances, has also been in regular correspondence with John Burnside, the NWAS's chief executive.
In the latest exchange, Mike Hill says: "We believe, given the extremely poor ambulance response times in this area, there should be no reduction in the First Responder service and training until your ambulances are hitting your own targets of '8 minutes in 95% of emergencies' and '19 minutes in 95% of amber cases'. To reduce the one part of our local service that seems to work well, the First Responders, without you hitting your ambulance response targets, is putting lives seriously at risk. You will be held responsible and we will not let up in publishing any future serious failures."
The MP was also brought up to date with the concerns now being raised about the long-term future of local GP services. Amongst other things, Stephen O'Brien has offered to present the combined petition now in the surgery and chemist's shop, plus the result of the Audlem Online Vote Poll now running, to Parliament to show how strongly a community feels about this vital local service.
The current situation in the campaign to de-prime the A525 was also discussed in detail. Audlem Online understands that the de-priming of the road has been agreed in principle but the process has to go through a complex range of local sign-offs. Stephen O'Brien has offered to help and will be seeing what can be done to help that process along.
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