EMERGENCY ambulances will no longer be based in Kidderminster, prompting concerns over the impact on response times.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has confirmed the Stourport Road site will be closed down before the end of the month and its staff moved to other stations.

The ambulance service said the number of staff asking to transfer to other stations has made it "inefficient" to keep Kidderminster open.

A WMAS spokesman said: "We can confirm that from the end of November, emergency ambulances will no longer be based at Kidderminster Ambulance Station.

"However, the number of staff and vehicles operating in the area will remain exactly the same. In fact, both staff numbers and vehicle numbers have been rising consistently over recent years.

“The decision to close Kidderminster was taken due to the number of vacancies on the staff rotas.

"These vacancies have had to be backfilled with staff from other stations, but with a number of staff now asking to move to other stations, it has become inefficient to keep backfilling the vacancies.

“Managers will now work with the few staff who remain at Kidderminster as to which other station they wish to move to."

The nearest emergency ambulances will now be based at Bromsgrove, Worcester and one in Stourport, and the announcement has already led to concerns about staff commutes and the impact on response times for patients in Kidderminster.

An anonymous source told The Shuttle: "Staff aren't happy. These are people who live local and like working locally and now they will be shunted off to work in Worcester, Bromsgrove or Birmingham.

"They are already doing 12-hour rolling shifts and this just adds more time to their day. It changes their lives."

Another said: "It's 20 minutes minimum coming from Bromsgrove and even longer from Worcester, so how long will people in Kidderminster have to wait for an ambulance?

"What if someone has a heart attack? I dread to think what could happen."

The long-term future of Kidderminster Ambulance Service has been uncertain since 2012, when the ambulance service announced it would sell the land and move staff to other bases.

WMAS confirmed that staff working on the non-emergency patient transport service will be unaffected by the station's closure and will remain at Kidderminster until the end of March, when private firm E-Zec takes over the contract.