NEW manning proposals for the ambulance service in the Barry and Penarth area are under consideration by the Glamorgan County Council Ambulance Service, and may be put into effect shortly, though the Barry and District News understands that they may be opposed by representatives of the men.

The depot at Barry covers Barry and Penarth and the rural areas, and it is understood that the new schedule will provide for only two men on duty on the night shift (4pm to midnight) instead of three men at the present time.

It is feared that in an emergency this reduced staffing could mean a serious delay in an ambulance reaching an accident. For instance, if there was a call which clearly requires a stretcher then both ambulance men would be required on one ambulance leaving the Barry depot unmanned.

If there is an emergency call a few minutes later then ambulances would have to be drawn from other areas such as Cowbridge – and there is only one man on duty at night there. It does not need much imagination to realise that there could be a considerable delay before the “outside” ambulance arrives.

“If it was an emergency at Rhoose Airport, then it would be just too bad,” commented one ambulance man to a “News” reporter.

The position is aggravated by the decision made a few months ago to close down the Barry Accident Hospital at 10 o’clock in the evening for accident cases. These now have to be taken, often by ambulance, to hospitals in Cardiff, thereby putting additional strain on the ambulance service. If an injured person suffered severe burns, then there is also the problem of transport by ambulance to the hospital at Chepstow which specialises in this type of accident.

Linked up with the apprehension about the proposed reduced manning is a certain amount of feeling about the fact that all emergency calls for ambulances now have to go through the divisional headquarters of Pontypridd, who then have to contact the depot at Barry, which could lose valuable time.

It is understood that the attitude of the men towards the proposals will be hammered out at a meeting to be held at Pontypridd tonight.