Health Minister announces £11m funding boost for emergency ambulance services
Emergency ambulance services will benefit from an £11m funding boost from the Welsh Government, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford announced yesterday.
The Emergency Ambulance Services Committee (EASC), which commissions the emergency ambulance services on behalf of health boards, will receive £8m funding this financial year from the extra £40m of winter pressures money for the NHS announced by Finance Minister Jane Hutt earlier this month.
The extra funding will help Welsh Ambulance Service paramedics and other pre-hospital clinicians respond to rising demand from the public, particularly over recent winter months. For example, on New Year’s Day 2015, the service responded to 17.5% more category A emergency calls than on January 1, 2014.
The Welsh Government has also approved £3m capital funding to allow the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to purchase 17 new additional frontline emergency ambulances. They will join the existing fleet of 243 emergency ambulances.
The new emergency ambulances will complement the extra £7.5m investment from EASC to employ 120 additional frontline emergency ambulance staff this financial year.
The Welsh Government also recently approved funding of £3.8m for the purchase of 41 replacement operational vehicles as part of the annual replacement programme. This will help provide a modernised fleet which is more reliable, better equipped, cheaper to maintain, and more fuel efficient, which will be key in delivering service improvement.
Professor Drakeford said:
“Improving the performance of the emergency ambulance service is a priority for the Welsh Government. This multi-million pound investment is proof of that commitment.
It will increase the number of frontline emergency ambulances available across Wales. The Emergency Ambulance Services Committee has also invested £7.5m to allow the ambulance service to employ 120 additional frontline staff.
This significant package of investment will help ensure the ambulance service is in a better position to provide a swift response to life-threatening calls across Wales.”
Stephen Harrhy, the new chief ambulance services commissioner for Wales, said:
“This additional ring-fenced funding for emergency ambulance services will support initiatives, which will be agreed jointly by the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee, health boards and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.
Immediate action will be taken which will not only help improve response times but, more importantly, deliver an improved clinical service.”
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