AMBULANCE staff have joined forces with fire fighters in a ground breaking scheme to share accommodation.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) staff in Newton-le-Willows moved in with their emergency service colleagues from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MF and RS) this week following a decision to vacate the old Silverdale Road station and move into the new community fire station further along Silverdale Road.
The fire station, located next to the Trust site, was officially opened in July and now the occupancy terms have been agreed, five ambulance staff , one emergency ambulance and one patient transport vehicle have transfered to the new building.
Officials for the ambulance service staff union Unison were continually unavailable for comment about the move.
But NWAS Sector Manager Camilla Rumsey insisted that as a public sector organisation in today’s current financial climate, it was “even more important” that it looked into how public monies are invested and spent.
She said that the former ambulance station was in a “poor state of repair” and would have required “significant” funding to make it fit for purpose.
Ms Rumsey said: “The Trust has a very close working relationship with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and their construction of the new station presented an ideal opportunity for co-location.
“We believe this is a positive move which will enable us to continue to serve the local community and dispose of the existing ambulance station.
“The staff are delighted at being able to work from this modern facility and forging closer working relationships with our blue light colleagues.’
Ambulance staff have their own rest room, locker facilities and office within the station.
And have already been taking advantage of the meeting room facilities in advance of the move.
The co-location is part of the Trust’s regional review of its estates and an identical partnership has been forged with MF and RS in Formby.
MF and RS Group Manager Chris Case, District Manager for St Helens, said: “It is fantastic to see our ambulance service colleagues joining us at this state of the art new community fire station, which is one of seven being built in Merseyside as part of a private finance initiative.
“We are going through challenging financial times at the moment but it is right that when property is no longer fit for use, we provide our staff and local communities with the right equipment and facilities.’
It was now hoped that the former ambulance station can be sold and any funds raised from its sale will be reinvested into the Trust.