MONMOUTH Assembly Member, Nick Ramsay, has held a lengthy and "productive" meeting with the Welsh Ambulance Trust in an effort to deal with serious delays in ambulance response times that have been affecting the town of Monmouth.
Mr Ramsay met with the Regional Director of the Ambulance Trust at their headquarters in Cwmbran on Friday following attempts to hold the meeting several weeks ago having to be re-scheduled by the Trust.
Speaking after the meeting Nick said: "During the productive meeting with the Chair and officials of the Welsh Ambulance Trust I stressed the need for progress to be made on this issue of ambulance response times in Monmouth.
"I think it’s hugely important and positive that the Trust accepts the mistakes of the past and it’s vital that we move forward and make sure promised improvements happen as quickly as possible.
"As for progress, I’m pleased to confirm that an ambulance will is to be kept permanently on standby in the Monmouth area. This should help with emergency response times which I hope will see a steady improvement locally in the coming months.
"I’ve called for greatly improved liaison with the ambulance service across the border in England so that we are not simply relying on Welsh ambulances in Monmouthshire. If an ambulance is available in Herefordshire and can reach a patient in a shorter time than an ambulance based here then this should clearly be utilised. Patients must come first; the border must not be a barrier to healthcare.
"Following the meeting I saw first-hand the technological complexity of the ambulance control centre. It’s clearly important that training regimes are kept up to date so staff are suitably trained for all eventualities. I expect this to happen.
Nick added: " I feel we had a constructive meeting but I am now calling for innovative ways to build on this. I’m working with the Health Board to arrange information events in Monmouth to keep local people updated on progress and to ensure that the Ambulance Trust is getting to grips with past problems in an open and transparent manner. Local people understandably need reassurance that they are going to get the ambulance service they deserve.
"We do of course have to recognise that the Ambulance Service is currently having to deal with a massive 6 per cent cut to its budget as a result of the Welsh Government’s refusal to follow the Westminster Government in protecting the health budget in Wales. That said, it’s vital our emergency service performs at an acceptable level despite budget cuts.
"I intend to have an ongoing dialogue with the Ambulance Trust so that we can deal with problems as they arise and finally get to grips with this issue."