|West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust|
The NHS corporate identity logo of West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust
Area served by West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust
|Type||University NHS Foundation Trust|
|Established||1 July 2006|
|Headquarters||Brierley Hill, West Midlands, England|
|Region served||West Midlands region, England|
|NHS region||NHS England|
|Area size||5,000 square miles (13,000 km2)|
|Chair||Sir Graham Medlum|
|Chief executive||Dr Anthony C Marsh|
The West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) is the second-largest ambulance service, and the first university ambulance trust in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services within the West Midlands region of England. The trust won the contract for non-emergency patient transport services in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral previously provided by the North West Ambulance Service in 2015. It transferred in July 2016. The trust is currently under the leadership of chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh and chair Sir Graham Medlum . It is one of 10 Ambulance Trusts providing England with Emergency medical services, and is part of the National Health Service. There is no charge to patients for use of the service.
WMAS was one of the highest-performing ambulance services in England and one of only two to exceed all of its national performance targets in 2006-07. It employs around 4,500 staff and is supported by about 1,000 volunteers, over 63 sites, and makes over 450,000 emergency responses every year.
The trust is currently the best-performing ambulance service in the NHS, being graded Outstanding by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors in January 2017 and the only ambulance service to meet Government targets. The trust was further graded Outstanding by CQC inspectors during August 2019, with an Outstanding rating being given for four out of the five key areas being inspected.
The trust was formed on 1 July 2006, following the merger of the Hereford & Worcester Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust, and WMAS and Shropshire services.
On 1 October 2007 the service merged with Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. At the time Staffordshire Ambulance Service was widely regarded as one of the best-performing ambulance services on the planet. Its success came from its pioneering work in introducing "first responders" - a concept where volunteer, fully trained paramedics and first-aiders would respond in liveried cars on lights and sirens from their homes, and from their normal places of work, to provide vital first aid to a patient before an ambulance arrived. This system is now largely seen as the norm, and has been adopted by every ambulance service in the country, and many more across the globe.
It was announced on 14 November 2018, that the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust had gone into partnership with the University of Wolverhampton to form the UK's first university-ambulance trust. As a result, the trust has changed its name to West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust. In November 2019 West Midlands Ambulance Service took over running the 111 service previously provided by Care UK within the West Midlands (excluding Staffordshire).
In the 2017-18 contract negotiations with Clinical commissioning groups,where Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG negotiated on behalf of all the West Midlands CCGs the trust sought financial compensation for the delays to ambulances caused by patient handover delays at local hospitals. WMAS wanted a "full second tariff" on top of the standard tariff for delays over 60 minutes, and "a smaller second tariff" for delays over 30 minutes, which would have come to around £6 million. After mediation by NHS England and NHS Improvement it was agreed to pay the trust an additional £2.1m in 2017-18. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust were singled out as the main culprits.
Following the merger of the trusts, WMAS inherited a number of standalone control rooms. This resulted in 5 centres spread across the region operating independently using varying levels of technology at sites: Millennium Point, Brierley Hill, Tollgate Drive, Stafford, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Bransford, Worcester and Dale St, Leamington Spa. On 28 November 2007, the trust agreed to go ahead with proposals for the reconfiguration of its Emergency Operations Centres, despite vocal protests from the public. WMAS now operates from two Emergency Operations Centres based at Millenium Point, Brierley Hill (Trust HQ) and Tollgate Drive, Stafford. It also operates a virtual EOC so waiting calls at either of the Trusts two EOCs can be answered by the other, even if the call isn't designated to that control room. This increases the speed at which vehicles can be dispatched.
As of 2019, the trust had over 400 vehicles, including patient transport services vehicles, rapid response vehicles, motorcycle response units, and of course ambulance crews.
In addition to the fleet, the Service has several specialist teams available should the requirement arise
In 2011, a new system was announced for the operations of ambulance services in Herefordshire, whereby Hereford would serve as the 24-hour "hub" where all vehicles would be serviced, maintained and held before all shifts. Former stations include: Leominster, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Bromyard, Kington, and Leintwardine - closed in late 1990s. Community Ambulance Station (CAS) sites are used in Ledbury, Leominster, Ross-On-Wye, Kington & Bromyard.
"Make ready" hubs - Shrewsbury & Donnington (Telford). CAS sites - Bridgnorth, Craven arms, Market Drayton & Oswestry.
"Make ready" hubs - Tollgate - Stafford (EOC & "Make ready" hub), Lichfield & Stoke-on-Trent. CAS sites - Burton, Cannock chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, Newcastle-Under-Lyme & Staffordshire Moorlands.
"Make ready" hubs - Warwick & Coventry. CAS sites - Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby & Stratford-Upon-Avon.
As of the last quarter of 2013 provision for the Birmingham area moved to Aston Fire Station as a temporary move. In February 2017 the trust closed the Aston Fire Station response point, relocating the staff to the two main Birmingham hubs of Erdington and Hollymoor. All small ambulance stations closed and services were moved into the 2 main "Hubs" which form a make ready system where ambulances are prepared prior to crew shift time commencement. There is also a sub-hub in east Birmingham based at Solihull Hospital. A Response car is based at a community ambulance station in Dorridge (Knowle). As of April 2018 this car has been withdrawn.
In May 2017 the Motorcycle response unit was also abolished with the remaining staff moving to different operational areas of the trust. "Make ready" hubs - Hollymoor, Erdington, Oldbury (HART & MERIT base), and Sandwell.
Black Country The Black Country is served by 'Make Ready' hubs: Dudley, Willenhall and West Bromwich. A number of much smaller but widely spread Community Ambulance Stations (CAS) closed with the removal of RRVs from operations. Previous CAS sites included Stourbridge, Cradley Heath, Tipton, Halesowen, etc.