A PROTEST is on the cards as staff at the threatened Bransford Ambulance Centre fight against its proposed closure.

Staff are drawing up plans and preparing banners to highlight the importance of the centre, which takes emergency calls from across the two counties.

West Midlands Ambulance NHS Trust wants to close the centre, with one in Shrewsbury, and create two regional centres in Brierley Hill and Stafford, alongside an existing one in Leamington Spa.

Bransford staff are firmly against the plans, and have until October, when the trust makes a final decision, to argue their case.

"We're fighting this all the way, and nothing is ruled out," said senior call taker Liz Kabani.

"We've been talking about a protest, or a march, which will be difficult to arrange, as we all work different shift patterns, but we're determined to fight this."

Workers fear moving call takers to a centre up to 61 miles away would put patients' lives at risk.

"This is something that will affect residents, motorists and people passing through the area," added Mrs Kabani.

"I don't think people realise how important it is to have a local emergency control centre until they need an ambulance themselves."

The Ambulance Trust has sent out copies of a consultation document to local authorities, MPs, community groups, NHS organisations and members of the public.

It believes the current centre is not fit for purpose, and would be unable to communicate effectively with other centres in large scale emergency situations.

Trust chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, said: "This cannot be a sensible way forward, which is why we want to make the improvements and create a virtual control room based at Brierley Hill, Stafford and Leamington Spa."

Anyone wanting to air their views about the closure can visit www.saveoureoc.co.uk