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14m Cuts At North West Ambulances

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

North West Ambulance Service Planned £14m Cuts Will Directly Impact On Front Line Services

If services are to be cut because we have to balance the budget why are NWAS doing this with a £34 million under- spend sitting in its bank asks GMB. 

GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, responded to being informed by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) of their cost improvement plans (CIP) for 2014-15 in which they plan to save almost £14 million from this year’s budget.

Ray Carrick, GMB regional officer, said “The Trust has been set a CIP target by the government of £10.5 million per year but, in the last 2 years, they have added over £2 million to this target. They have gone on to over-achieve each of these targets.

They report that as of the 31st March 2013 they were able to bank an additional £14.7 million to make their cash in the bank almost £34 million. They further say they need to do this in case some of their income from the new CCGs is delayed.  

NWAS announced they wish to save a further £14 million this year, the majority of which will come from front line services. They say the reason it is so high is to take account of the loss of the PTS contract in Manchester (which must have made a £4 million surplus every year). 

So, this year they plan to cut:

  • £6.2 million from corporate services, a plan that will mean redundancies. GMB has asked for the outcome of the corporate services review, but NWAS say they are not in a position to share this with us yet.
  • £927,000 from PTS by reductions in staffing numbers and a further reliance on mobile data and AVLS.
  • £232,000 from resilience, yet to be discussed.
  • They further plan to take all paramedics off the Urgent Care Service (UCS) and replace them with Band 3 staff.
  • They also plan to reduce night cover at Bury, Bolton, Carlisle and Wigan. Remove day vehicles from Ellesmere Port, Formby, Warrington, Blackpool and Burscough. They also plan to carry out a reconfiguration of the Urgent Care Services vehicles that operate at the level in-between routine out-patient services and 999 emergency services.

As you can see from the above, patients and services will be affected. The Trust should be proud, and rightly so, to have achieved the nationally set targets for red1’s and red 2’s but that does not show the overall picture from the patients perspective, with almost 1400 red 1&2 patients who waited over an hour for a response and over 30,000 red 1&2 patients having no paramedic attendance.

From the Trusts’ own figures, Green 1 and 2 should be 95% within 20 and 30mins respectively; they achieved just 80% and 82%. Green 3 & 4 were better, but are measured against 3 and 4 hour waits with 98% and 96% being achieved respectively.

But what this actually means is that over 13,000 Green 1 patients waited longer than 20mins with 2,300 of those waiting longer than an hour. 46,000 Green 2 patients waited longer than 30mins and 1,735 of those waiting longer than an hour and 20 minutes 

Although GMB was assured in earlier months that any downsizing or cost implementation would not affect ‘front of house’ or patient-facing services, this is proving not to be the case and it appears all sections of NWAS are to face cutbacks irrespective of whether it impacts on patient services or not.

Yet our confusion is this….. If services are cut because we have to balance the budget, why are NWAS cutting services to the patient with a £34 million under spend sitting in its bank?

GMB is asking for clarity on why front line emergency vehicles and services to the patient are being axed.”


Contacts:    Ray Carrick, GMB Regional Organiser: 0797 401 8412. or Steve Rice, GMB Branch Secretary: 0791 726 026.  GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823.




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