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Ministerial u-turn on Ambulance Service welcome, but problems still to be addressed

December 10, 2009 2:45 PM

Commenting on the decision by the Health Minister to waive the requirement for the Welsh Ambulance Service to efficiency savings in the next financial year, Peter Black, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Health said: "I am pleased to see the Minister has taken account of the findings of the efficiency review into the ambulance service and that common sense will prevail. The savings that the service was being asked to make represented a significant chunk of their budget and there was no way they could have been delivered without patients being put at risk. I have been calling on the Minister to take this action for some time and I welcome her decision." "But the trust still has other financial issues to contend with. They are still being expected to repay the debt they have accumulated, whereas the new Health Boards have had their debt written off. The review also highlights additional funding that is needed to restructure the service in order to meet the performance targets they have been set." "The Minister's announcement today is a start, but the ambulance service still requires a greater degree of financial certainty. The next step should be to write-off the debt and allocate some of the unallocated health money in the budget to achieving the restructuring of the ambulance service recommended in the report. I hope the Minister decides to listen to common sense on this as well."