Centralisation of Workshops in Cheshire and Merseyside

The majority of the existing workshop premises are over 50 years old and are no longer fit for purpose, either in need of extensive repair or unsuitable for our current needs. They are widely disbursed and provide limited service provision which means lower resource availability, higher operating costs, inequitable provision across the area and mixed distribution of skill sets.
We can confirm that NWAS is closing five out of its six workshops in Cheshire and Merseyside and is currently constructing a new centralised workshop in Haydock. The centres which are closing are Macclesfield, Northwich, Runcorn St Helen's and Anfield. The Wallasey workshop will not be closing. As a note, these workshops are currently adjacent to ambulance stations and these will remain open at present.

At present, we are currently undergoing a review of all our estates and the options we are working towards for all stations are; closure, relocation, refurbishment, co-location with other emergency services or NHS organisations or no action.

We did obtain costs for the refurbishment of all of the workshops but discovered that building a brand new, bespoke facility was more cost effective.

The Haydock site will be a purpose built facility and will maximise the availability of vehicles and hours of service cover. Its location is adjacent to the M6 and A580 which provides good communication routes in all directions.

One of the key aims of the project is to reduce or eliminate the need for ambulance crews to drive vehicles to workshops. Crew availability would be enhanced by the use of mobile mechanics and 'shunters' for servicing, MOTs and minor repairs - keeping skilled clinicians on the road attending to patients rather than driving to workshops.

Mobile mechanics will be able to come out to crews for 'quick fix' repairs, these will be despatched from strategic locations around the Cheshire & Merseyside using Haydock as their base for top up parts.

All workshop staff have been offered positions within the new facility. There are no planned or forced redundancies as a result of this project and the Trust is currently consulting with staff with regard to what facilities they require at the new site and how we can make the transition as easy as possible for them.

It is expected that the new facility will be in operation from April 2014. We do not expect to see any negative impact on service provision to the public and do not regard this as a change to service provision which is why no public consultation has taken place.