AMBULANCE services in Shetland are likely to be dispatched from Lerwick Fire Station as of later this year.
The move will see the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service operate from the same premises at Sea Road.
The SRFS is currently tendering for a contractor to reconfigure and refurbish the existing Lerwick Fire Station to allow for both services to use the building.
The capital costs are estimated to be in the region of £250,000. However, a valid planning application to Shetland Islands Council has yet to be submitted.
The ambulance service’s premises at the town’s Burgh Road will be vacated and returned to NHS Shetland, which owns the building.
The plans have stirred some disquiet among local fire crews, who say there has been no consultation with staff.
The Lerwick move is seen as a blueprint for other locations across Scotland and has in fact already happened in the islands of Unst, Yell and Whalsay.
Shetland safety and resilience committee chairman and SIC councillor Alastair Cooper welcomed the move.
“Burgh Road is not a good place to get in and out to respond to an emergency,” he said.
“The fire service and ambulance service are both cash strapped, and where you can relocate and save cost, we should do so. I think it is a good thing. There are efforts of bringing blue light services together in other places as well.”
Local senior officer for Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland Islands Iain MacLeod said the SRFS would seek opportunities to work with partners wherever possible and appropriate to enhance the safety of local communities.
“I can confirm that there have been ongoing discussions surrounding plans for the ambulance service to share the premises at Lerwick Fire Station including direct staff consultation throughout the process,” he said.
“No fire appliances will be moved out of the station and our dedicated crews will continue to respond to every emergency.
“The application is currently in the planning process stage.”
A spokeswoman for the SAS confirmed that the move to Sea Road is due to take place later this year once the “purpose-built community station, holding both services” is completed.
“Working with other blue light partners is a key priority for us, so we are delighted with the progress made in integrating Lerwick’s fire and ambulance stations.
“These changes will result in closer working between the two services, will mean patients continue to receive high quality emergency care and will ensure our buildings remain cost-effective and fit-for-purpose.”