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New ambulance trust planned

PLANS to create a new ambulance trust covering four counties have been backed despite concerns over future services.

NHS bosses want to create a new ambulance trust covering Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. This would replace the current Two Shires Ambulance service covering Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

At a meeting of Chiltern District Council's executive committee on Tuesday, councillors backed the new trust in principle but said improvements in service, including response times, would have to follow.

However, Cllr John Warder (Con, Chalfont St Peter Central) said the proposed change-over was "pie in the sky" and explained that merely pushing all the existing trusts into one "great lump" would not improve things at all.

At the moment there are seven ambulance trusts covering the South East region but the plan is to replace these with three including the proposed one to cover Bucks.

Reasons behind the plans include improving standards of service, increased joint working between counties, added efficiency and performance levels.

An earlier initiative to create a single ambulance trust for the entire South East region was thrown out because of fears that the service could appear too remote from local communities.

Two Shires Ambulance Service were unavailable for comment.

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