Ruffley anger over Prescott's mass regionalisation of Suffolk's emergency services

Tuesday, 18 October, 2005

David Ruffley MP today voiced his outrage at Government plans to merge our county's emergency services into mass regionalised entities.

John Prescott's department is to axe the local fire control room in Ipswich, replacing it with a regional call centre covering six counties and a population of nearly 5.5 million people.

Suffolk Constabulary, in one of three options looked at by the region's chief constables last Thursday, will be amalgamated into a regional force of 10,000 officers covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

It is also proposed that the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, which already serves a population of 2.3 million, become part of a massive regional service covering the same six counties.

David said:

'Mr Prescott has no proper mandate to do this. He is openly flouting public opinion and this is more evidence of regionalisation by stealth. It will not improve emergency services for my constituents in Suffolk and I will be opposing these mergers vigorously.

'Despite county opposition from many local politicians John Prescott is moving ahead with expensive and unwanted plans to deprive the people of Suffolk of their contact with their local emergency services.

'The East of England has a population of nearly 5.5 million and covers an area of over 19,000 square kilometres. These massive regional services will deal with areas as different in geography and demographics as urban Hertfordshire and rural Suffolk. It is a logistical nightmare and typical of a Government that fails to understand the unique needs of rural communities.'