Ambulance trusts to merge in South West

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Two ambulance services are looking to merge to form a single trust for the South West.

Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) said it was working with South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) to create the partnership by October 2012.

GWAS chairman, Peter Carr said the move would bring the benefits of combined resources and would provide more capacity to improve and innovate.

The new trust will cover an area from Gloucestershire down to Cornwall.

Mr Carr said he was confident the decision was right for staff and patients and offered the best future for GWAS.

"We have found a potential partner that shares our values and our strategic agenda which will ensure that patients continue to receive excellent services in the future," Mr Carr said.

Ken Wenman, chief executive of SWAS Trust, will become the interim chief executive for GWAS on 1 November.

GWAS provides emergency care and patient transport services across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, the greater Bristol area, and parts of Somerset.

The trust employs more than 1,680 staff across 33 operational sites.

South Western Ambulance Service covers parts of Dorset and Somerset, and Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

It employs some 2,200 staff.

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