Charity defends relocation of ambulance

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Bosses at St John Ambulance have defended their decision to relocate an ambulance bought by Dronfield residents to Leicester.

The charity said the switch, which will mean the vehicle now serves the whole of East Midlands instead of just the Dronfield area, could result in more lives being saved.

Angry Dronfield Town Council members last week condemned St John for not consulting locals about the move and demanded the £60,000 vehicle, funded with money raised by the community, be returned to the town.

But St John said the ambulance would continue to serve Dronfield, but it was obliged to use its resources as efficiently as possible.

Chris Thornton, St John regional director, said: “We need to ensure we’re making the most of the assets people have supported us to buy.

“This means any vehicle is used to its full potential, serving as many people who need it as possible and used on a regular basis.”

He said the ambulance was now in operation every day, compared to an average of three hours a week when it was located in Dronfield.

He said the vehicle was not used to treat a single patient in January or February before the switch, but served 93 patients across the East Midlands in June.

Mr Thornton said: “We can understand emotions are high, but St John is still providing an excellent and robust service to Dronfield.

“To have fundraised for the ambulance was fantastic and this now means more people benefit and hopefully more lives are saved thanks to the hard work and generosity of the people of Dronfield.”

The town council has launched a petition demanding the vehicle’s return.