Ambulance staff moving into new station

Operational manager Matt Calderbank
Operational manager Matt Calderbank

Paramedics have responded to their final 999 calls from ambulance stations around the borough.

Ambulance service staff have now moved into the new Wigan Community Fire And Ambulance Station.

It’s sad to be leaving the buildings behind because there’s a lot of history but the facilities at the new site are far better

Matt Calderbank

They are based at the state-of-the-art hub on Robin Park Road, in Newtown, alongside firefighters.

A new way of working means ambulance staff use fire stations around the borough, rather than travelling back to the new base between callouts, so they can be where they are most needed.

They will also go to the new medical centre in Ashton once it opens.

Matt Calderbank, operational manager for North West Ambulance Service’s Wigan group, said: “It will mean that rather than having to return a vehicle from Leigh, for instance, if there isn’t an incident they need to attend, they will be able to use the stations for rest break facilities or on active standby until there is an incident.”

Around 150 ambulance staff are moving from stations in Wigan, Hindley, Billinge and Atherton.

There will be 21 emergency vehicles available over a 24-hour period.

Staff based at the Wigan station did their final shift there on Monday September 4, with crews from the other stations joining them over the following few days.

The Wigan station, on Pottery Road, was built in 1961 and could now become part of the Pier Quarter, after being bought by Wigan Council.

Mr Calderbank said: “It’s sad to be leaving the buildings behind because there’s a lot of history and a lot of people work in the area and through each of the stations.

“But on the other hand the facilities at the new site are far better than the facilities here.”

A popular sight that will be moving are the mannequins used for training, which are regularly spotted by members of the public.

Mr Calderbank said: “The mannequins do have a tendency to move from where they are supposed to live and will find themselves sitting in a window with a hoody or a hat.

“The staff that we have here certainly have a sense of humour.”

The new hub was built on the site of Wigan’s former fire station and firefighters started working there in June.

It is the first time that firefighters and ambulance staff have worked side-by-side in the North West in this way.

A grand opening is being planned for later in the year.