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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Ambulance chief leaves his post
Roger Thayne
Roger Thayne said lives could be put at risk by the changes
One of the longest serving ambulance chiefs in the country left his post on Friday following his resignation in opposition to plans to merge services.

Roger Thayne, who resigned as head of Staffordshire Ambulance Service, is against the creation of a new regional emergency service.

He told the BBC he believes lives will be put at risk.

The number of ambulance trusts in England could be cut by two-thirds under government proposals.

The message for politicians is if your ignore what is obvious common sense... then you won't remain a politician
Roger Thayne, former head of Staffordshire Ambulance Service

The merger would see Hereford and Worcester, Staffordshire, Coventry and Warwickshire and West Midlands and Shropshire form one large trust.

A 2,500-name petition against the plans has been handed in to the government despite the appointment of a new head for the proposed service.

But Mr Thayne said he wanted the government to leave the service alone.

"I would say to Tony Blair or Patricia Hewitt, please leave Staffordshire Ambulance Service alone to continue what it is doing - saving lives - and use it as a model for other services.

'Standards may drop'

"The message for politicians is if your ignore what is obvious common sense... then you won't remain a politician."

Statistics show the service gets to 88% of emergency calls in eight minutes and after heavy investment in frontline technology the service is the only one in the country to have a state-of-the-art heart machine in every vehicle.

Mr Thayne has previously expressed fears that standards may drop if one regional trust is chosen.

He said there were concerns about whether the system would still operate in the same way, if staff would be able to use their skills and if ambulances would be as well stocked and as fast to respond.

See Roger Thayne as he says goodbye.

Ambulance merge 'not a good idea'
20 Mar 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Ambulance chief quits over merger
16 Mar 06 |  Staffordshire
Record broken for ambulance calls
04 Jan 06 |  Staffordshire
Hewitt to discuss ambulance plans
28 Nov 05 |  Staffordshire
Ambulance merger 'risking lives'
25 Nov 05 |  Staffordshire
Ambulance chief threatens to quit
05 Dec 05 |  Staffordshire

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