Cuts in ambulance service averted

Public fears over cuts in ambulance services have been eased temporarily after the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) found additional funding.
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The news was announced by the service which has backtracked on proposals made in the winter that it may have to withdraw emergency vehicles from service and downgrade other vehicles.

A campaign launched by UNISON – the health workers’ union – has been successful in getting the Trust to suspend these proposals.

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More than 11,000 people signed the public petition against the plans, which was submitted to Downing Street.

Members of the public and health workers were worried that the cuts would have increased waiting times for ambulances and ultimately cost lives.

Now, NWAS has stated it received additional temporary funding until March that will mean the proposals will not be implemented this year.

Finance Director Alan Stuttard said: “The Trust has received some additional funding from our Commissioners which will enable us to maintain the shifts and resources which we were reviewing through the Winter to the end of the financial year.

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“However, this money is not permanent and it is important that we continue to look at providing the most appropriate service for patients, and we know this isn’t always in the form of an ambulance and trip to the accident and emergency department.”

Angela Rayner, UNISON North West’s regional convenor said: “People have had enough of austerity and of reckless cuts to public services. Nobody voted for fewer ambulances.

“We remain a wealthy country and it is ridiculous that cuts to life-saving emergency services are even being contemplated.

“It’s great that people power has been successful and these cuts have been suspended. However, we must remain vigilant as the funding is temporary. We may need a similar campaign next year to protect our services.”