Merger of Bristol ambulance service on track for February
The merger of the ambulance service in Bristol with its Devon-based neighbours is on track for February.
Proposals to create a single ambulance service for the South West are now with the secretary of state for health.
If he approves the process Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) - which serves Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former Avon area - will cease to exist from February 1.
As previously reported in The Post South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAS) – which covers Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – will then take over the running of GWAS from its Exeter headquarters. All staff who currently work for GWAS will transfer to the neighbouring ambulance service under official regulations but there could be changes to staffing arrangements after the takeover has been completed.
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Ken Wenman, chief executive of both organisations, said: "The two trusts' desire in October 2011 to create a partnership was based on a real confidence that it was in the best interests of patients, staff and taxpayers. Over the past year, the proposals – and accompanying business case – have rightly been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by a range of external bodies, as well as by the trusts' boards.
"It is reassuring that at no stage of the process have there been any concerns that the partnership should not proceed and we are now looking forward to receiving final approval from the secretary of state."
Mr Wenman said that throughout the process the organisations have sought to engage with the communities they serve.
"A huge amount of work has been done – and continues to be done – by staff of both trusts to ensure a smooth integration," he said. "This has been achieved while focusing on continuing to meet all national performance standards and deliver excellent patient care.
"I therefore welcome this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank all staff from both organisations for their commitment and dedication during what I know is an unsettling time."