Ambulance service shake-up

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AN AMBULANCE service is facing a major shake-up.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is considering plans to reclassify ambulances into three categories that would change the number of vehicles covering Hartlepool and east Durham.

The categories would be emergency vehicles (double crew paramedic ambulances and emergency rapid response cars), urgent care vehicles and patient transport vehicles.

Hartlepool currently has two double crew paramedic ambulances which could be increased to three and reduce rapid response vehicles from three to two.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool also has two urgent care ambulances, which could be reduced to one.

It is planned to increase cover in Billingham, but reduce cover in Peterlee from a total of three vehicles to one.

Ambulance bosses have stressed that no ambulance stations will close and staff numbers will increase as part of the plans.