COUNTY health officials say no final decision has been taken on the future of the Purbeck Ambulance Car – and that no decision will be taken until 'we have the opportunity to work with local stakeholders and representatives'.

In the meantime, the rapid response vehicle – which was introduced in 2008 ­– will continue to provide emergency medical care for Swanage.

A spokesman for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, told the Daily Echo that there have been initial discussions between South Western Ambulance Service (SWASFT), NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Purbeck’s local GP leaders regarding the future of the

rapid response vehicle.

The spokesman said: "We are all keen to see an enhanced community offer that makes even better use of this resource and can build on the national and local investment in ambulance services.

"However, at a time when local services are facing unprecedented demands we are currently – rightly - prioritising the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"We are aware that people are interested in the future of the rapid response vehicle and would like to reassure people that no decisions will be made before we have the opportunity to work with local stakeholders and representatives to ensure any service meets the needs of the local population.

"Whilst this process is in progress there are no plans to remove the existing service."

Residents and local campaigners are fighting to secure the future of the service.

The Defend Dorset NHS group recently applied to the ambulance trust for data, with regard to call outs at Swanage, Langton Matravers and Worth Matravers in 2019, under Freedom of Information legislation.

A Defend Dorset spokesman said: "These areas had 996 callouts, the majority handled by 999 calls.

"This is a big number, amongst which are cardiac and respiratory symptoms, life threatening conditions, and I am very concerned what will happen to this number when the ambulance car is taken away."