A TOWN COUNCIL will be holding a public meeting this week following West Midlands Ambulance Service’s (WMAS) announcement that a community response post is scheduled to be closed down. The Times and Echo reported last month that the WMAS had revealed that it’s response post on Ashbourne Road in Cheadle is to shut by the end of March. Last week, a spokesperson for WMAS told the Times and Echo that now “the rapid response vehicle will be taken out of Cheadle by the end of January.”
Since then, two petitions, one online and one hard-copy, have been started by residents in a bid to try and keep the post open.
Now, Cheadle Town Council are inviting members of the public to a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, January 16) at Cheadle New Life Church, located on Tape Street, at 7pm.
Speaking to the Times and Echo, town councillor Elizabeth Whitehouse, who on behalf of Cheadle Town Council is fronting the campaign to convince WMAS to reverse it’s decision, is urging residents in the area to attend, she said: “Please come along and support it.
“The more people we have, the more pressure we can put on.”
Around 40 members of the community, including a number of councillors, gathered outside the community response post on Friday to voice their concerns to the Times and Echo about the news.
Joan Bott, of Paragon Close, Cheadle, said: “There’s so many new houses being built and more people coming into town.
“Also we have an ageing population in Cheadle but have less and less facilities.
“If you have a heart attack and they are not able to get to you in time, you’re a goner.
“This response service came out to me once when I had a TIA (mini stroke). They were with me within ten minutes and they were great.”
Jean Steele, who lives in Kingfisher Crescent, stated that she wanted “these facilities to stay, not just for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren, but also for generations to come,” whilst Susan Morrison, of Paragon Close, added: “It is a very valuable service which is much-needed in town.”
Graham Scragg, of Oulton Road, commented: “The news has come as a bit of a shock really.
“In a rural area like this, it is very important.
“There a lot of bad roads in the area where we have had a lot of bad accidents, quick response to those is very important.
“It’s life and death. It’s shocking.”
Graham’s wife Silvia added: “It’s just more strain on all the other ambulances, isn’t it?
“It’s like with defibrillators – they’re going to be relying on us normal people to try and save people’s lives and it’s wrong to put the pressure on other people like that.”
Tony Davis, of Ashbourne Road, stated: “We actually live on Ashbourne Road and I can guarantee every night you see a flashing blue light go past.
“We are losing another facility here and it just shouldn’t happen.
“We should be going forward now instead of backwards.”
Trish Davis, Tony’s wife, said she believed “people will die” because of the closure of the post.
Cllr Whitehouse commented on the number of people who came out in opposition to the plans and underlined the cruciality of the response post.
She said: “It’s fantastic that people have turned out and shown their support.
“We need all the support we can get because I think we are fighting against the tide but I just hope everyone sees how much we are trying as a council and a community.
“It’s not just Cheadle that this post covers, it’s all the surrounding areas.
“In Cheadle especially we do have quite an elderly population who will likely need this service more.
“It deals with people in a time of crisis and I think it’s absolutely vital that we keep it to stop people from dying.”
A spokesperson for the Voice For Cheadle told the Times and Echo: “Voice for Cheadle are totally committed to retaining the First Responder in the Cheadle area covering the Moorlands villages in their catchment area.
“Whilst savings are having to be made by the regions health authority, we believe this is a misperception of the strength of feeling of local people.
“A review is needed to find an acceptable way forward that does not put lives at risk.
“The ‘Golden hour’ can be a matter of life or death for a stroke or heart attack victim.
“First responders provide this safety net and we need to support it.”
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