Dorset's Ambulance Service Now Covering Wider Patch
8:18am 1st February 2013
From today (February 1st) there is a single ambulance service covering the entire South-West of England.
The South Western Ambulance and the Great Western Ambulance Services have now joined forces after approval from Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of SWASFT (South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust), said to Wessex FM: "We believe the enlarged organisation has the opportunity to provide the best care available in the country to patients and we are committed to delivering benefits to the public and patients across the South West.
"With a larger workforce, we have greater resilience and flexibility to meet the challenges in healthcare in the months and years ahead. Also, we are better able to invest in cutting-edge treatment and research, and to continue to train our staff to better care for patients in the out-of-hospital environment. With an annual turnover of £210million, we can benefit from greater economies of scale to obtain better value in buying medical equipment and emergency vehicles.
"However, being bigger on its own won't make us better. SWASFT was the first ambulance trust to become an NHS foundation trust in March 2011 and we continue to be one of the highest performing trusts in the country. GWAS has also been delivering matching levels of performance over the last year. We are therefore bringing together two strong organisations and that is what will make the new trust even better."
In 2011-12, the two ambulance services responded to more than 690,000 emergency calls to the 999 service - an average of 1,892 every day. Year-on-year increases in calls, plus some for multiple patients mean the enlarged SWASFT should be helping more than 2,000 patients each day.
The service will serve over 5.3 million people in total and it is hoped that the merger will bring the best of both services together.