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Ambulance stations in need of vital work

PUBLISHED: 16:50 27 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

NINE out of ten ambulance stations across East Anglia are not up to scratch. The shock statistic is contained in a new survey, which judges the condition of the 34 ambulance stations across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

NINE out of ten ambulance stations across East Anglia are not up to scratch, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The shock statistic is contained in a new survey, which judges the condition of the 34 ambulance stations across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Over the years, no new buildings have been built and the old ones are riddled with, fire, health and safety failings.

The survey was done to help East Anglian Ambulance Trust bosses draw up a strategy for how they should be managed in the future.

But first the trust faces a hefty repair bill – and will need to find £1.6 million if it is to solve all the estate's problems.

Ipswich Ambulance Station, based at the Ipswich Hospital site, needs a grand total of £86,900 spent on it alone.

Ipswich is the worst case when it comes to failing fire standards, and an investigation is underway.

It also has the biggest area of premises in an unacceptable condition – 764 square metres.

Felixstowe Ambulance Station is among the better buildings, but still needs £21,372 spent on it.

The survey reveals that:

Eighty eight per cent of stations have some areas in an "unacceptable" physical condition – that equates to 45 per cent of the trust's floor area;

Eighteen ambulance stations are in the wrong place to be able to offer a fast response and should be re-located – including Stowmarket Sudbury, and Bury St Edmunds;

Eighteen EAAT buildings don't meet fire safety standards;

None of the ambulance stations offer a "high degree of satisfaction" when it

comes to using space well;

Seven stations were found to be overcrowded and ten more are verging on being inadequate;

Only two stations are under-used.

Shirley Saunders, deputy to the chief executive, reported the situation to fellow directors at yesterday's board meeting in Cambridge.

The trust has no professional expertise about estate management in its ranks, apart from an estate manager who retires in December.

Mrs Saunders said there was an obvious need for an estates manager, as the NHS increasingly focuses on the issue.

In her report she adds: "Historically the trust has responded to opportunities as they present themselves. As the estate strategy is developed, the emphasis will change into proactively managing the agenda and driving the change.

"Financial constraints will inherently be an issue."

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