Following reports today (16th August) that Anthony Marsh, the new Chief
Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, has said that the
forced merger of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service could be completed
by the end of this year, Michael Fabricant has vowed he will initiate an
emergency Parliamentary debate on the subject once Parliament returns
after the summer break.
Michael says: "The forced merger into the regional West Midlands
Ambulance Service combined with the removal of ResQpod and other
life-saving equipment from Staffordshire Ambulances makes a lie of all
the promises given only a few months ago to MPs by Tony Blair and the
Secretary of State for Health. I cannot accept that Staffordshire
people should have to endure a reduction in standards on the altar of
regionalism. Medical experts say that ResQpod equipment saves 20 lives
a year on average in Staffordshire. The equipment has never been used by
the West Midlands Ambulance Service where, up until now, you are over 4
times likely to die from a heart attack than in Staffordshire.
"We were assured that a take-over had been kicked into the long grass
and that, in any event, West Midlands services would be raised to those
of Staffordshire before any take-over would be considered. This was
clearly a lie and Staffordshire lives will be lost as a consequence. I
hope that some Staffordshire Labour MPs – not all – who have peeled away
from the previously united front against the take-over will rejoin the
campaign for the sake of their constituents" adds Mr Fabricant.
The following is taken from today’s Birmingham Post:-
Mr Marsh, aged 41, who took up the post last month, said: "The
directions handed down show the merger with Staffordshire should take
place by December 31, 2007, but that could happen sooner, maybe by the
end of this year. If there’s a good case for doing so, why would we
"Roger Thayne has always been very clear the model used in Staffordshire
could not operate on a larger scale, hence his fears their performance
could be affected," said Mr Marsh. "But, in performance terms, Coventry
and Warwickshire are only two per cent behind and Oxfordshire is also on
a level pegging with them, so I don’t believe Roger’s fears are founded.
"Not everything good happens in Staffordshire."