Ambulance trusts' South West merger plan moves closer

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Plans to create a single ambulance service for south-west England have been sent to the health secretary for approval.

Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (GWAS) wants to merge with South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) to create a single foundation trust.

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

GWAS said the merger would see some job cuts, however frontline services would not be affected.

A spokesman could not say how many staff would be affected.

Final approval

If approved by Jeremy Hunt, the trusts could merge by February.

Ken Wenman, chief executive of both organisations, said the plans had been subjected to "rigorous scrutiny" by external bodies such as Monitor and the strategic health authority.

"It is reassuring that at no stage of the process have there been any concerns that the partnership should not proceed and we are now looking forward to receiving final approval from the secretary of state," he said.

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 2,200 staff.

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