Reading about the failure of some ambulance trusts to meet the eight-minute emergency ORCON standards, I have to say - as a former non-executive director of Humberside Ambulance Service who lives in a remote part of East Yorkshire - I am not surprised the results for my area (Tees, East and North Yorkshire) have plummeted 10 per cent to 55.5 per cent since merger a year ago.
The local press has headlined several cases of a lack of ambulance cover in rural areas, which may have contributed to unnecessary deaths. Services are drastically underfunded, and the situation was becoming intolerable while I was a non-executive. It can only have become worse with merger.
The current ideological mantra of fewer, larger trusts being more efficient and effective is not true, certainly for ambulance services.
If you merge three anorexic trusts such as Humberside, North Yorkshire and Cleveland, and expect the resulting organisation to save£500,000, the result cannot be healthy.
Areas such as North Yorkshire, with a difficult landscape and low density of population, need more resources per head than predominantly urban areas to achieve the same results. There is no equity in healthcare while funding does not adequately reflect the additional costs of delivery to rural areas.
I am reminded of Petronius's words almost 2,000 years ago: 'We trained hard, but every time we got ourselves organised into teams we were reorganised.We learned later that while reorganisation created an air of progress the real result was confusion, disorganisation and despondency.'
The ambulance service doesn't need reorganisation; it needs enough money to do the job that the public and government expect of it. I know this is what the staff on the ground want, because they still stop me in the street and tell me so.
Lynn Massey Davis Former non-executive Humberside Ambulance Service trust