Following the announcement today by Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health, that a new health authority covering the whole of the West Midlands will be created from 1 July 2006, Michael Fabricant says "This is not encouraging news for the future of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service".
Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) will join with Birmingham and the Black Country and West Midlands South Strategic Health Authorities to form a new West Midlands SHA. The Secretary of State for Health announced the new configuration of SHAs across the country following the outcome of the recent ‘Commissioning a Patient-led NHS’ consultation process.
But Michael Fabricant says: "This agenda is driven by the government’s obsession with regionalisation. Despite assurances by Patricia Hewitt that the future of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service is still not yet decided, I believe that it is already stitched up and will be forced to merge into a west midlands regional service. I hope that Labour, as well as Conservative, MPs in Staffordshire who have spoken out against such a merger will not back down at the last minute as the regionalisation bulldozer rolls on. We have a duty care to help preserve the lives of our constituents and the dogma of regionalisation will, in this instance, undoubtedly endanger life. I hope to raise this issue again with the Prime Minister."