COMMERCIAL: Great Western Ambulance Service has launched a review of its ageing estate in a bid to tackle the £2m maintenance backlog.

A press release issued by the trust reports that the review of the trusts 30 buildings has been prompted by the “changing face of emergency and other unscheduled clinical care”, including the new non-emergency phone number NHS 111 which the trust hopes to run in the area.

The introduction of NHS 111, which is being piloted in the North East and East Midlands and is due to be rolled out nationally by 2013, is expected to generate an additional 1.5 million calls in the GWAS area of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former Avon. This is around four times the current volume of 999 calls in the region.

GWAS interim chief executive Martin Flaherty said: “Bidding to run the 111 service in our region is a natural ambition for us, given that we already have considerable in-house clinical expertise and knowledge in handling emergency calls and the out-of-hours GP service in Gloucestershire.”

An estate strategy document will be presented to the next trust board meeting on 26 May.