UNION officials have warned cuts to ambulance services in the town could risk lives.

Protestors will be out in force this weekend in the town centre with a petition opposing the changes for shoppers to sign after the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Unison branch has claimed bosses’ proposals will cut day cover by 55 hours a week in Warrington.

Dave Robb, Merseyside and Cheshire area convener for Unison, said: “We are already over worked and over stretched.

“Demand on crews has caused tremendously high levels of sickness because of the amount of work they have been asked to deal with and going without meal breaks.

“This could have a major impact on peoples’ health and potentially a negative impact on the population.”

NWAS announced plans to save £13.8m in the next year earlier this month including reducing day cover at Warrington station on Farrel Street.

Currently the station has three emergency ambulances working 24/7 and two rapid response vehicles.

Mr Robb added the proposals will also mean a front line clinical vehicle will be reduced to a lower grade vehicle which cannot respond to 999 calls as staff on board do not have the level of clinical skills required.

He added: “We’re hitting targets but only just and any reductions will have an impact on performances and people waiting longer for an ambulance to respond.

“Potentially lives could be lost because of these cuts and this is just the first round of cuts on the frontline, who knows where it will stop.

“This attack on frontline services is something the government stated would never happen.”

Alan Stuttard, deputy chief executive for NWAS, said a ‘quality impact assessment’ would take place before any changes are made.

He added: “We have met with the unions to discuss what savings we propose to make and possible ways in which we can achieve these and will continue to do so as we progress.

“Once plans are finalised, we intend to fully discuss these with our external partners and stakeholders.”

Unison officials will be in the town centre from 11am on Saturday.