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New Ambulance Chief's Pledge Is Welcomed
A pledge to cut bureaucracy and turn round performance at the Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) has been welcomed by the leader of Cotswold District Council.
Cllr Lynden Stowe said the reported comments of GWAS interim Chief Executive Anthony Marsh were “most encouraging and not before time”.
Cllr Stowe said: “Mr Marsh has said he wants to release cash to bring in more frontline staff by cutting back on management positions.
“Given the service’s worryingly poor record on ambulance response times in rural areas, this pledge can only be welcomed.
“But these words must be translated into actions – and, more importantly, results.
“The people of the Cotswolds are not getting the ambulance service they expect or deserve and this situation has to change as a matter of urgency.”
Cotswold District Council has been calling for improvements to the ambulance service since the death last year of 23-year-old student Rebecca Wedd, following a road traffic accident near Cirencester.
The ambulance took 42 minutes to attend the scene - 34 minutes over the national target of eight minutes for attending an accident of this kind.
A subsequent review by the Healthcare Commission criticised GWAS and recommended improvements be made.
CDC's Overview & Scrutiny Committee conducted its own review into local ambulance provision and joined forces with Stroud and Forest of Dean District Councils to prepare a joint report on the service which went before the County Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee in September.
Cllr Stowe added: “Research for the report showed that the average performance in the Cotswolds is frequently the worst of the 15 Districts served by GWAS.
“The 2007/08 figures for the whole of the GWAS area – Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire - showed that 72.2% of immediately life-threatening incidents were responded to within eight minutes. But when you look at the figures for the Cotswold District alone, they were frighteningly lower at just 50.6 %.
“GWAS is clearly in need of more control centre staff, more ambulances and more paramedics. Let us hope that we will see drastic improvements under Mr Marsh's direction.”
: 30/10/2008 17:13:36
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