STRUCTURE: The board of Great Western Ambulance Service has decided it is not viable for the organisation to go it alone as a foundation trust and has announced it will look for a partner.

Chief executive Martin Flaherty said the preference would be to partner with another ambulance trust. GWAS, which serves Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the Bristol area, is the smallest ambulance trust in England. It borders areas covered by South West Ambulance Service, which was one of the first ambulance trusts to achieve foundation status when it was authorised in March, West Midlands Ambulance Service and South Central Ambulance Service.

Mr Flaherty said: “At GWAS we are absolutely committed to clinical excellence and have decided that the best way to deliver on this commitment is to become part of a larger organisation where the benefits of combined resources will give us more capacity to improve and innovate at the pace our patients deserve.

“I am confident that this decision is the right thing for our staff and our patients and offers the best future for GWAS. By finding a trust that shares our values and our strategic agenda we will ensure that patients can continue to rely on our services in the future. It will also allow us to develop those services more quickly than we can do on our own.”

The trust is working with NHS South West to identify a range of potential partners.