Ambulance service report 'must be last'

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There was much agreement in the debate on the future of the Welsh ambulance service in a debate on 7 May 2013.

There was agreement, in particular, that while recently published McLelland report on the service was welcome, it was the latest in a long line of such reports and consultations and must be the last before something is done to improve the service.

Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said it had made very depressing reading and that many of the the solutions and route maps to improvement suggested in it had been well rehearsed in the past.

However there had been, she said, "a depressing lack of follow-through" in the past.

The minister could not let that happen again, she said.

Speaking for the Conservatives, Darren Millar welcomed the tone struck by Mark Drakeford.

It was right, he said, that the minister acknowledged past failures, right that he acknowledged the hard work of ambulance staff and right that he now intended to roll up his sleeves so that "we can get this right."

Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones suggested the ambulance service now posed "a monthly embarrassment for the government" and warned it would be impossible to solve its problems in isolation from the rest of the health service.

The issue of splitting the service between medical emergency work and day to day patient transport was supported by many, as was the need to invest in staff training and better communication.

Labour's Jenny Rathbone warned there was little point in spending millions on upgrading ambulances, then simply "bolt them on to out of date communication systems".

There was agreement too on the need for what was described as "a more intelligent suite of targets" that would allow AMs to compare the service's performance with past years, and with other parts of the UK.

A better funding structure was also, the parties agreed, crucial.

This was, concluded the health minister, a helpful debate identifying "emerging areas of consensus" between the parties on what should be done about an ambulance service that is "running very hard to stand still, against a hill of rising demand."

The motion as amended was agreed.

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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