A Welsh ambulance chief has dismissed claims that cuts are to be made to night-time ambulance cover in Flintshire.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, claimed there will be a 25 per cent cut to night-time ambulance cover in Flintshire which he describes it as “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.
He said he had been told one of the four night-time ambulances was being withdrawn by Welsh Ambulance Services (WAS) Trust management at 2am from April.
Mr Gruffydd said: “The decision to make one of the four night-time ambulances effectively an evening shift is a 25 per cent reduction in the cover for Flintshire at night.
“This has implications as well for Wrexham crews, who I’m told have to cover for Flintshire from the depot in Dobshill near Buckley.
“This is on top of reductions to the service when four stations in Flintshire were closed and the service was centralised at Dobshill.
“At a time when demand is spiralling and problems facing ambulance crews discharging patients at hospitals are increasing, I question why this is happening and what the implications are for patient safety if it’s pushed through.
“The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust management should be open and honest with the public about this move rather than trying to sneak it through without debate.
”It’s irresponsible and dangerous to expect crews to deal with 25 per cent more work and stretch this important and much-valued service beyond breaking point.”
Mr Gruffydd plans to raise the issue with Welsh Government health minister Vaughan Gething but a WAS representative insists no ambulances are being cut but small alterations are being made to shifts to “reflect demand”.
Richard Lee, director of operations for WAS, said: “We would like to reassure members of the community that no ambulance hours are being lost in Flintshire.
”What we are doing right across Wales is trialling some changes to shift start and finish times as a result of an in-depth review to better match our resources to periods of high demand.
“None of these trials will result in reduced hours and the aim is that this will result in an improved service for patients by providing the right level of coverage at the right times.
“These changes have been agreed in partnership with our staff representatives and will be reviewed during and at the end of the trial period to ensure they achieve the planned improvements.”
The Trust has also recently taken on up to 20 fleet staff who clean, service and restock ambulances, allowing crews to spend more time providing clinical care for patients in Flintshire.