Disastrous?

PUBLISHED: 11:23 23 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:19 24 May 2010

THE merger of three ambulance services into one has been labelled as 'disastrous' by Weston's MP, John Penrose. Greater Western

THE merger of three ambulance services into one has been labelled as 'disastrous' by Weston's MP, John Penrose. Greater Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) Trust was formed last year from Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire ambulance services with the aim of improving performance and making savings. Mr Penrose said: "Before the merger people were concerned that combining three services into one could be disastrous. Now it looks like they were right." Figures for the response rates to the most serious cases within eight minutes, known as category A emergencies, show a fall from 76.8 per cent in 2005-6 for Avon, to 72.8 per cent in 2006-7, after the merger.Mr Penrose added: "I have written to the trust asking for a detailed explanation of the figures. "We need to know how they plan to restore and then improve on their response times."However, response times for serious emergencies within 19 minutes showed improvement compared with last year's figures for Avon. A spokesman for the ambulance trust said: "Call volumes increased across the entire trust region between four and six per cent since last year. "We remain committed to achieving 75 per cent of category A responses within eight minutes. A number of plans are in place to help us achieve this, including increased recruitment and training of paramedics.

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