Minister issues flood defence pledge to West Yorkshire during ambulance service visit

A leading Government health minister claims “what needs to be done will be done” to ensure flooding devastation in West Yorkshire is never repeated.

Thursday, 31st December 2015, 3:17 pm
Dr David Macklin with Minister for Public Health, Jane Ellison, at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Headquarters in Wakefield.

Jane Ellison, Minister for Public Health, was speaking after a visit to the headquarters of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS), in Wakefield, in which she thanked staff for their hard work.

The Battersea MP, who was visiting family in Bradford during the deluge, met trust chiefs to discuss how the Government could help going forward.

When asked whether West Yorkshire would be given adequate flood defence support amid claims of a north-south funding divide, she said: “There is not a different system for flood protection in different parts of the country and what needs to be done will be done.”

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The Boxing Day floods in Kirkstall. Picture by Tony Johnson.

She added: “I’ve seen first hand what all the emergency services have been dealing with so I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you.”

Ms Ellison met Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations at YAS, who explained that the trust has been receiving 2,000 calls a day and 900 to 1,000 of those are potentially life-threatening emergencies.

He said that the flooding made it more difficult to reach patients in emergencies but, through a joined up approach with other emergency services, they were reached “in an appropriate amount of time”.

Dr Macklin added: “This is always a challenging time of year. Activity is increased and the whole system is put under particular pressure at this time of year and therefore we’ve responded to that incredibly well.”

Over the next six years in Yorkshire the Government claims it will invest more than £280million in flood defences including £33m in Leeds, having spent £100m in the county since 2010.

It comes after heavy rain caused widespread flooding in Kirkstall and Leeds city centre as well as extensive damage across the county on Boxing Day.