Michael Fabricant has just received official ministerial replies to the
questions he tabled last month to the Department of Health. And in the
reply, the Minister for Health Ms Rosie Winterton MP says that the
Staffordshire Ambulance Service and the West Midlands Ambulance Service
"will merge at a later date".
However, she goes on to say "No timescale has been set for this merger".
Michael Fabricant says: "So the sword of Damocles hangs over the
Staffordshire Ambulance Service. The good news is that the 24 month
deadline for the merger has been lifted, but the Government’s
determination that there should be a merger remains.
"This will be a blow to the paramedics, first responders, and other
workers for the Ambulance Service whose morale must be affected by this
decision. I hope that all Staffordshire MPs can remain united in
opposing any unnecessary merger which is driven by the Government’s
strange obsession with regionalisation."
The full answers are published below. It is important to read between
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what
criteria she will take into account before changes are considered to the
future of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: We shall shortly be agreeing the basis for
partnership between Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the
new West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. It is of course paramount
that the safety of the public is protected, and this must be the main
consideration in going forward.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the
Staffordshire Ambulance Service will be merged into a West Midlands
Ambulance Service within 24 months; and if she will make a statement.
Ms Rosie Winterton: As stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh
(Andy Burnham) in his statement to the House on 16 May 2006, for now
Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will remain a separate trust,
working in partnership with the new West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS
Trust, but will merge at a later date.
No timescale has been set for this merger.