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Yorkshire's ambulance services to merge

[Thursday 18 May 2006]

FIRST it was the police service, now the Government appears intent on merging the region's ambulance services as Health Minister Lord Warner confirmed details of a major nationwide reorganisation.

Following a three month public consultation exercise, it has been decided that from 1st July there will be a reduction from the current 29 trusts to only 12 NHS ambulance trusts in England.

The Government believes that by creating fewer larger ambulance trusts, there will be less bureaucracy, more money to invest in front line services and better care for patients.

We have been preparing the groundwork for such a decision, and this work will now continue at a pace in forming our new ambulance service

Jayne Barnes - Chief Executive, TENYAS

Lord Warner said: "Last year's strategic review of ambulance services gave us clear recommendations for how we can make improvements to patient care.

"The review not only set out how ambulance trusts can build on improvements in response times to life-threatening situations, but also how NHS ambulance staff can go beyond their traditional role and also deliver more NHS services closer to home.

"But to make this vision a reality, organisational changes are necessary to create more strategic capability. The boundary changes that were recommended will create larger organisations that will be better equipped to meet the challenges faced by a 21st century service.

There are currently two trusts serving the Yorkshire Dales; The Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service (TENYAS) and the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (WYMAS). These will now join with the South Yorkshire trust to form a region wide ambulance service.

TENYAS Chief Executive Jayne Barnes, said: “It is good to have the decision made, as it has been a difficult time for staff, with so much uncertainty.

“We have been preparing the groundwork for such a decision, and this work will now continue at a pace in forming our new ambulance service”.

Lord Warner continued: "We know that these changes are important for local people, which is why we put the proposals to public consultation.

"Overall, we received positive responses to the proposed changes and, where there have been local concerns voiced, we have provided assurances that the new ambulance trusts will be required to meet the needs of local people within their boundaries."

According to the Government, the benefits of creating larger trusts include more investment in front-line services, Improved patient care and better emergency planning with greater capacity and capability to respond to major incidents of all kinds.

Ministers are stressing that there will be no reduction in ambulance vehicles, or front-line staff.

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