Ambulance service review announced after budget row

Ambulance (generic)
Image caption A review will look at ambulance performance targets

The health minister has announced a review of the Welsh ambulance service after being pressured over funding.

Lesley Griffiths said it would be "comprehensive" and would look at the service's performance targets.

The service has come under fire from opposition AMs for failing to meet targets on response times.

Mrs Griffiths denied claims that a wrangle over funding had left the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust without a budget.

It gets most of its funding from a committee whose members include the bosses of Wales' seven health boards.

Despite a deadline for budget negotiations to be concluded in June, a final settlement for 2012/13 was not agreed until 2 November, two days after BBC Wales highlighted the delay.

Mrs Griffiths said the service's core financial allocation was agreed in April and that recent discussions were about "in-year adjustments".

She told AMs: "This will be a comprehensive review and will cover relationships with health boards, targets, and whether the current arrangements might be modified, and the relationship between emergency and non-emergency patient transport services."

Officials have been asked to draw up terms of reference by the end of the month, she said.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said it would be the ninth review of its type.

Speaking during a Lib Dem-tabled Senedd debate about the ambulance service, he said: "It seems to me, minister, that you have to get a grip of this issue and I wonder whether a review is going to do it."

Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones said: "Evidence from around Wales is clearly indicating that our ambulance service is at breaking point."

She added: "Any financial uncertainty just adds to the turmoil faced by ambulance trust managers and paramedics."

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