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£3m Brighton ambulance cleaning station plans revised
4:00am Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
A new centre for cleaning ambulances has been revived after new plans were submitted.
South East Coast Ambulance Service has submitted revised plans for a £3 million make ready station to prepare ambulances for duty in Brighton.
The emergency service has gone back to the drawing board to iron out a number of design issues over earlier designs submitted in September 2012.
The centre in Woollards Field, off Lewes Road, would have specialist staff employed to clean, restock and maintain ambulances, allowing frontline staff to spend more time treating patients.
The new building would allow staff to regularly deep-clean and test for potentially life-threatening infections such as MRSA and CDiff.
It is also hoped that the work by the centre’s on-site maintenance experts would mean fewer breakdowns for emergency vehicles.
The service says the new centres are necessary because the current arrangements do not meet “the necessary operational requirements”.
The two-storey centre, which would be next door to the new £19 million archives centre The Keep, would have 87 car parking spaces and 34 ambulance bays.
The new centre would provide a central base for staff currently based in Brighton, Shoreham, Hove, Lewes, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath and would be the first of its kind in Sussex, with SECAmb currently running two in Kent.
Ambulances would be brought in once during a 12-hour shift, and would be cleaned before being restocked for the next shift.
The service says that it is not intended that vehicles would operate under blue lights from the centre but may be required to in exceptional circumstances when ambulances based at the make ready centre are closest to an emergency.
Locker, shower and changing rooms facilities would also be available for staff at the centre.
A final decision on the plans is expected in May and if given planning permission it is hoped that the centre would be open at some point in 2015.
At present, paramedics regularly have to clean and restock their own ambulances.
An ambulance service spokesman said: “Following some planning and design issues, the decision was taken to withdraw the application which was submitted in September 2012 and resubmit the current application which has seen some changes made to the design and layout of the centre.”
The spokesman also said it is possible that current ambulance stations would be converted into ambulance response posts, but any decision on the closure of stations would only take place once a response post is operational.
Any decision would also be made on an “individual basis” and “on whether they are in the best location to respond to patients”.
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