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AWE cuts ambulance service cover

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Bomb factory confirms it is to axe its night and weekend ambulance service cover

AWE has confirmed it is to cut its night-time and weekend ambulance service at the bomb factory in Aldermaston.

The move comes almost six months after a major fire at the plant, in which the ambulance service was one of the first on scene to assist when a member of staff was injured and nearby residents had to be evacuated from their homes following a blaze in an area of the plant which contained explosives.

The ambulance is run by the AWE Fire and Rescue Service (AWEFRS) which currently provides cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Four firefighter posts, which run the ambulance, would be lost as a result, although there will be no redundancies as the posts are currently empty.

The change brings the Aldermaston site in line with the service already in place at the Burghfield weapons plant, which has no ambulance cover overnight or at weekends.

A spokeswoman for the firm, Rachel Whybrow, said: ‘We can confirm that, following a routine operational review the overnight internal ambulance service is to be reduced at AWE Aldermaston.”

“The proposal has been subject to full consultation within AWE including with the trades unions. It has also been discussed with the South Central Ambulance Service and has its support.

“AWE does not routinely conduct process operations at night when facilities are shut down in a safe mode.

“On the rare occasions when it is necessary to carry out high hazard operations outside normal working hours, ambulance service cover will be provided under agreed arrangements. Doctors are only required as part of these arrangements for specific operations and ambulance cover is always provided when this occurs.”

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