Michael Fabricant has welcomed a temporary reprieve announced for the Staffordshire Ambulance Service, but remains cautions about its medium term prospects. Michael says "In a letter written by the most senior civil servant at the Department of Health to the Chief Executive of the regional Strategic Health Authority – a copy of which I have only just received, it is made clear that the 2 year deadline set for the merger was ‘erroneous’ and that ‘no timetable has been set’.
"I welcome this news. However, as no ministerial statement to this effect has been made and Parliamentary Questions tabled to Health Ministers by me and due for answer by the end of May have still not been answered, there is still considerable cause for concern. When the Health Minister was questioned in the House of Commons regarding the 2 year deadline for the merger with the West Midlands Ambulance Service, he would not deny that the deadline is in effect.
"It is made clear in the letter that the West Midlands and Staffordshire Ambulance Services must work together and that a merger will take place when ‘the terms are appropriate and manageable’.
"It is therefore essential that Staffordshire MPs continue to cooperate and ensure that no merger takes place or, if it is forced through by the Government, not until we can be assured that our ambulances services will not suffer in Staffordshire as a consequence."