STRUCTURE: NHS South West considered franchising out Great Western Ambulance Service after it became apparent the organisation would not achieve foundation trust status.

A paper presented to NHS South of England’s board reveals the strategic health authority also considered letting a management contract for an organisation to work with GWAS for up to three years with the aim of achieving foundation trust status, before opting to pursue an NHS partner for a merger.

GWAS is the smallest ambulance service in England by 20 per cent and was struggling with a high turnover of senior leadership and low margins.

The report said an NHS provider of emergency services was the only appropriate merger partner, “given the dominance of the emergency ambulance services” within
GWAS’ portfolio.

South West Amblance Service Foundation Trust was the only organisation to express an interest and work on the merger is ongoing.