West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust has been given a £10m funding boost this year after an external review found more resources were needed to meet growing demand.
The review, commissioned by the trust and West Midlands specialised commissioning team, found the ambulance service would need extra staffing to meet performance targets.
We are very pleased with the initial investment we’ve been able to secure, which will allow us to increase the number of paramedics and frontline staff
Calls to the service grew 4.3 per cent in 2008-09 and it says there has been a 6 per cent rise so far this year.
The report by consultants Lightfoot Solutions said: “It is clear from our review that there are grounds for concern about the sustainability of performance and the clinical effectiveness of [the trust] in its current situation.”
It said demand was “continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate… despite the West Midlands being one of the most cost effective services in the country”.
PCTs have responded by providing an additional £10m this year. The amount that will be recurrent after 2009-10 has not yet been agreed. The trust’s annual emergency ambulance spending before the investment was £142m.
Ambulance trust chief executive Anthony Marsh told HSJ: “We are very pleased with the initial investment we’ve been able to secure, which will allow us to increase the number of paramedics and frontline staff.”
The review also says the region should agree a strategic vision for unscheduled care, and recommends the ambulance service should strengthen its senior management team, particularly in strategic planning and programme management.
The PCTs’ clinical quality group chair, Jane Povey, said the review “makes it clear that extra funding is not the whole solution”. She said an additional £20m had already been invested in the past two years.
“We continue to work with the PCTs and the ambulance service to develop new ways of organising the service to best meet the changing demands of the region,” she said.