AN MP has said any changes to fire and rescue services must ensure that there is enough cover for a town the size of Malvern.

MP of West Worcestershire Harriet Baldwin called for service changes to the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue service to be "honed" as she met with the county's fire chief.

Chief Fire Officer, Jon Pryce, consulted Mrs Baldwin on his proposed plans for fire crew coverage - which includes reducing on-call staff but increasing permanent staff, to allow for better use of the service's resources.

Mrs Baldwin welcomed the proposals but emphasised the need for greater clarity to ensure Malvern's fire service is improved by the changes.

 “I have had a detailed briefing from the Chief Fire Officer, and I am grateful for his time to explain what he has in mind," she said.

"Having listened to his briefing, I am clear that we must ensure that the right level of cover is available for a town the size of Malvern as well as the wider south Worcestershire area.

“We discussed the issues that he has recruiting on-call staff and I would be reluctant to see any proposals come forward that saw a compulsory reduction in on-call head count.

“I welcome the plans to invest in extra vehicles to help crew attend incidents, but I am keen to see the plans honed to ensure these changes improve local coverage."

A spokesperson for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue service said: "Analysis of data shows that maintaining all 41 current fire engines with the resources to crew them fully on our 25 locations is not affordable, necessary or realistic.

"These proposals are NOT cuts, as every penny saved will be reinvested into employing more full time firefighters making the busiest fire engines more resilient, and for some fire engines to have a larger crew sizes.

"This would mean more firefighters on the busiest first fire engines, lower levels of overtime, and being able to provide better availability of our remaining on-call fire engines. 

"The review does not propose closing any fire station, or removing or reducing any first fire engine, at any of our 25 fire stations. This review is focussed on those fire stations with more than one fire engine where that additional fire engine is not used very often, and can suffer from low levels of availability of On-Call firefighters.

"Consultation on the proposals closes on 04 March 2024, and feedback gathered as part of this process will be carefully considered prior to final proposals being presented for consideration by the Fire Authority in June 2024."