1,000 signatures reached
To: Dorset Council, People and Health Overview and People and Health Scrutiny Committees
Dorset Council: Save Swanage Ambulance Car
Dorset County Council recognised in 2018 that the loss of A&E, Maternity and Specialist Children’s care from Poole would mean journeys of approaching 30 miles, largely on congested single track roads, for Swanage residents and visitors to access emergency hospital care, and that it is a matter of life and death that Swanage based Ambulance resources are fully maintained.
A Freedom of Information Act response from the Ambulance Trust shows that, over 13 months, the average time between a category 1 imminent danger of death call from Swanage and Isle Purbeck villages, to the Ambulance Trust, to the arrival of the patient at Poole Hospital, was 1 hour 43 minutes.
Dorset Council asked for, and were given, a commitment by Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group that Swanage based Ambulance resources would be fully maintained to mitigate the risks of this long journey to emergency care. This commitment was reported at Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee on 17 October 2018, and is in the Minutes, on page 5, in paragraph 1.
When Dorset County Council became a Unitary Authority all commitments of the County Council transferred to the Dorset Council Unitary Authority. Dorset Council also has a statutory duty to ensure that any changes to health services benefit all residents.
A petition started by the Chair of Swanage Area Forum to save Swanage Paramedic Car had over 7,700 signatures on 22 June 2021.
We the undersigned petition Dorset Council to take all necessary steps to require Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group to honour their minuted commitment to Dorset Council to fully maintain Swanage-based emergency response resources: Swanage Ambulance Station, 24/7 Ambulance and 24/7 Paramedic Car.
Why is this important?
The 24/7 Swanage based Purbeck Paramedic Car is 'tethered' to Purbeck in a way that no Ambulance can be, as it does not routinely take patients to hospital, it supports Purbeck GP's home visits, and it provides cover while Swanage Cottage Hospital urgent care is closed overnight. Because the Car is tethered to Swanage and Purbeck, it is most likely to be available when we need it, and it is usually the first on the scene, preserving life until the Ambulance comes, which may be a long wait.
1,875 Purbeck patients are treated by the Car Paramedic in a year, with more than half being category 1-3 emergencies, the most serious, where there is a threat to life or of permanent disability. Swanage is the 'hot spot' in Purbeck - there are more overall call outs, category 1 imminent danger of death call outs, and category 1-3 serious emergency call outs to Swanage in a year than to the rest of Purbeck put together.
Furthermore, the Paramedic Car, a fast 4x4 that can go off road to reach patients if needed, has a single Paramedic, and saves scarce double crewed Ambulance resources by treating 50% of patients at the scene.
Yet the Swanage Paramedic Car is under threat of withdrawal. As noted by Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership, Swanage and Wareham Town Councils, and Langton, Corfe, Studland and Worth Parish Councils it is a matter of life and death for Swanage and Isle of Purbeck residents that the Car is retained.