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GWAS all set for relocation to Bristol
8:00am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
Great Western Ambul-ance Service (GWAS) is to close its Wiltshire control room and relocate staff to Bristol.
The decision was made at a board meeting of GWAS last month but was only made public last week.
The closure of the control room, in Devizes, will take place in March next year and is being done to save money. GWAS says it will save £700,000 a year, with rent for the Devizes facility accounting for a significant proportion of that total.
The closure will also coincide with the merger of GWAS with South Western Ambulance Service.
All 999 calls to the ambulance service are answered in the Bristol control room, who then relay the information to the staff in the Devizes control room, who then dispatch ambulances. A total of 33 staff work in the Devizes control room.
Ken Wenman, chief executive of GWAS, said: “The most important thing to stress is that this move in no way represents a loss of local knowledge or reduction in our service to patients across our Wiltshire sector.
“By relocating to Acuma House (the Bristol control room) our Wiltshire dispatchers will be located alongside emergency operations centre-based clinicians in the shape of our clinical support desk, meaning they will be better able to ensure the right resource is responded first time.”
The Gazette received an anonymous letter from an employee in the Wiltshire control room who claimed that there would not be enough jobs for all the staff to relocate to Bristol.
The employee said: “We are all a bit shell-shocked at the thought of losing our jobs and also at the lack of thought that is being used in considering the people of Wiltshire.”
John Oliver, spokesman for GWAS, said there were no compulsory redundancies planned.
He said: “There are vacancies in the Bristol control room.
“Positions have been filled with short-term and temporary staff and we are keen for staff in Devizes to transfer over as we want to retain their skills and commitment.”