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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 06:56 GMT
Patients drive ambulance update
Ambulance worker generic
The trust has had four chief executives in 2006
A plan to modernise the Welsh Ambulance Service will be driven by the needs of patients, says its chief executive.

Alan Murray said the blueprint to revive the service, to be presented to the ambulance trust board later, was "firmly patient care-led".

Health Minister Brian Gibbons has praised Mr Murray's leadership, saying the organisation had a "new sense of purpose" since his August appointment.

The service has been through turmoil, with four chief executives since March.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is an organisation that can deliver
Health Minister Brian Gibbons

Mr Murray said he was grateful for extra Welsh Assembly Government funding, which has seen 16m provided for 119 new ambulances and 67 patient care vehicles.

Forty new rapid response vehicles are also being bought.

Mr Murray said it was his vision to create a "world-class ambulance service".

"We spent a lot of time discussing the modernisation plan and its effect on the board and on the unscheduled care strategy," he said.

Alan Murray
Alan Murray has been in charge of the service since August

"The modernisation plan is firmly patient care-led, although achieving national standards will be very important, because getting to the scene of an emergency more quickly can and does save lives.

"We need to move from being a medical transport service to being a healthcare provider in the broadest sense."

The plan proposes that paramedics could help with non-urgent care in between emergencies.

The ambulance service was heavily criticised earlier in December in a report by the auditor general, who said a lack of direction and weak leadership had led to poor performance.

'Getting to grips'

But Dr Gibbons said these criticisms had been taken on board in the plan, called "Time to make a difference".

He added: "I've felt since the appointment of Alan Murray there has been a new sense of purpose and cohesion and a clear vision.

"We discussed some aspects of the agenda in relation to the auditor general's report, seeing how some of those criticisms were being picked up, and we were reassured by the way the board is getting to grips with the agenda.

"The Welsh Ambulance Service is an organisation that can deliver."

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