PARAMEDICS have welcomed a U-turn by ambulance bosses on plans to cut the number of emergency vehicles on the road in Bolton.

A proposed shake-up could have seen Bolton lose one of the four ambulances that attend emergency calls from midnight to 8am.

Additional funding has been found to prevent any changes for at least nine months.

The reversal comes amid claims that resources are stretched — and the service has revealed a rise of more than eight per cent in 999 calls received between April and June of this year.

North West Ambulance Service finance director, Alan Stuttard, said the additional funding from commissioners is “not permanent” and that it must continue to look at providing “the most appropriate service for patients.”

He added: “We know this isn’t always in the form of an ambulance and trip to the accident and emergency department.

"The additional funding will enable us to maintain the shifts and resources that we were reviewing through the winter.

“We will be investing some of the funds into further improving and expanding our ‘hear and treat’ and ‘see and treat’ initiatives which will enable us to help patients with non-life threatening conditions.”

Mr Stuttard said the trust wants to consider other resources such as new community paramedics and senior paramedics attending patients at home to avoid unnecessary journeys in a further bid to free up ambulances.

A paramedic who has worked in Bolton for 15 years and did not want to be named, said: “We have levels of how busy we are and we have moved from a stage two to a stage three which shows we have got busier.

“The prospect of cutting the service was very worrying — we are counting this as a small victory but we know we have to keep the pressure on.”