Welsh Lib Dems provide Assembly Health Minister with blueprint for urgent action on failing Ambulance Services.

2009 Gorffenaf 7 12:11 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling upon the Welsh Assembly Government to take urgent action to bring Wales' ambulance services up to scratch. Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "

Wales' ambulance services are in dire need of support and reform. We have heard today from a former head of the service in Wales that services have deteriorated over the past two years - which means lives are being lost which could be avoided. The service is required to make savings of £17m this year and £23m the next -without radical reform we will slide further into crisis, meaning more lives will be lost.

"The Health Minister, Edwina Hart, has raised her concern over management of the service, noting that staff were ' overworked' and that she was ' not happy with the way the service was managed ' . Kirsty Williams said: " Once a Minister has acknowledged such widespread failings, it ' s imperative that they act quickly to reform, or morale and performance will further decline. The Service, who cannot speak openly themselves, deserve support, not sniping from the sidelines from the very Minister who has presided over huge budget cuts to this vital, front line service. We' re proposing a number of actions that taken together would act to radically improve ambulance services in Wales.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats propose that in consultation with service providers and users, the Assembly government seeks to: * Provide financial stability and certainty for Ambulance Services - long term certainty even if cuts must fall on ambulance services. * Bring forward capital bids - fastrack investment in infrastructure and operational resources. * Review of acute bed numbers at busiest locations - reduce ambulance waiting time. * Develop effective telephone triage services - take control and divert ' time wasting' calls for emergency services (e.g. by co-locating NHS direct with ambulance call centres). * Ring Fence rural ambulance provision.

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