London Ambulance Service plans to relocate the majority of its Enfield staff to Edmonton, sparking fears patients in the centre of the borough will be forced to wait longer for emergency care.
Following a Capacity Modelling Review, LAS plans to implement the scheme in early 2014 with most of its vehicles being moved to Edmonton Ambulance Station in Windmill Road.
Chase Farm Hospital in The Ridgeway is currently manned by up to three paramedic ambulances, four support ambulances and two fast response cars, depending on staffing levels and the number of call outs.
At its depot in Carterhatch Lane it also has up to three paramedic ambulances and one fast response car.
But under the new plans Chase Farm station will be left with just one 24-hour emergency ambulance and Carterhatch station with one emergency ambulance, one 24-hour fast response car and one extra ambulance at weekends between 7am and 2am.
John Jewson, who was an ambulance man for 32 years, is concerned moving paramedics to Edmonton will mean they will not be able to answer calls quickly enough in the centre of the borough.
Speaking to the Enfield Independent, the 68-year-old of Edenbridge Road, said: “When the staff come on duty they will be told to go on standby in Enfield but as soon as you start work there are calls waiting to be done. This means the ambulances will either be sent straight to jobs in Edmonton, or they will take longer to get to jobs in Enfield.
“The result will mean Enfield won’t have enough ambulances for patients. The people in Enfield will not get the service they require.
“It’s also not fair on the staff who will have to deal with it. If someone is angry because they’ve been calling 999 and waiting for an ambulance for a long time they could take it out on them.”
The LAS confirmed that some staff could be stationed as far away as Camden and Whipps Cross, although investigations are underway to discover where they are most needed.
Last year LAS staff attended 9,644 incidents where patients were in a life-threatening condition in the Chase Farm and Ponders End area, whereas staff attended 22,930 incidents in the Edmonton , Bounds Green and Tottenham area.
Steve Colhoun, Ambulance Operations Manager for Enfield, said: “We will continue to have staff based at all three Enfield ambulance stations in Chase Farm, Ponders End and Edmonton, but as the majority of incidents we attend are in the Edmonton area, we plan to have more staff based there.
“Our crews start and end their shifts at ambulance stations but the rest of their time is spent out in the community treating patients.
“We would like to reassure Enfield residents that anyone in a life-threatening condition will continue to get a fast response.”