Councillor Ade Adeyemo’s speech at Full Council on the closure of Solihull Ambulance Station - Tuesday 4th February 2020.
“In November 2013, I came across for sale signs at the former Ambulance Station on Hermitage Road in Solihull.
“I immediately brought it to the attention of our then MP, Lorely Burt, who pulled out all the stops to ensure that double-crewed ambulances remained in Solihull.
“At the time, the West Midlands Ambulance Service agreed to retain ambulances and fast-responder cars at several locations within the borough. These are now all gone and the Ambulance Station at Solihull Hospital was the last remaining facility left in the borough.
“Almost exactly 6 years later, on the 13th of November 2019, I was informed that the West Midlands Ambulance Service had made the decision to close the current Ambulance Station at Solihull Hospital, the closure date being the 30th of January 2020.
“As before, managers at West Midlands Ambulance Service tried to hide their decision, fearing a public outcry.
“Make no mistake, this was nothing to do with the general election or purdah. They did not own up to the closure until after my article was published in the Solihull Observer, just before Christmas.
“Even then, they peddled the lie that the Ambulance Station was not due to close until the end of March 2020, whilst staff were being told otherwise.
“Solihull Ambulance Station is now closed - it was formally closed on the 30th of January, as I had been originally informed. Staff previously based in Solihull have all now been reallocated to other bases, including Warwick and Erdington.
“To be frank, I have zero trust in the management of the West Midlands Ambulance Service. They have been economical with the truth and deceptive throughout this shambolic closure.
“That they have closed such an essential facility, and kept everyone in the dark, including…
• The members of parliament for Solihull and Meriden,
• Solihull Council officers,
• The Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care,
• Elected members and local residents,
…just shows how unaccountable they have become.
“I think you will all agree with me that their behaviour in this matter has been utterly despicable and shows disdain for the people of Solihull and its environs.
“Since I was informed about the closure, I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Solihull and Meriden have done our upmost best to try and prevent this closure. We have collected over 1,300 petition signatures and we have run press and social media campaigns to ‘Save Solihull Ambulance Station’.
“Contrast this, and Lorely Burt’s actions in 2013, with those of our recently elected representatives. The response from both of our Conservative Members of Parliament has been abject, to say the least. I believe they both wrote letters... eventually!
“This was the first test of their commitment to keeping NHS services in Solihull, and they have failed miserably!
“Managers at Solihull Hospital are not innocent in this matter. For a long time now, they have been antagonistic towards the Ambulance Service, imposing parking charges on paramedics, not looking at the wider benefits their presence brought to Solihull and its residents. I have no doubt that this antagonism also played a part, however small, in the Ambulance Service’s decision to close Solihull Ambulance Station.
“Whilst the Ambulance Station is now closed, the fight to save it is not yet over. I understand from the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care that the West Midlands Ambulance Service will be called to Scrutiny, where I hope that they will be properly brought to account for their disastrous decision“.