GOVERNMENT cuts to West Midlands Ambulance Service totalling £11.7million over the next 12 months could put lives at risk, claims the GMB.
A spokesperson from the union told The Standard the need for WMAS to find that amount of savings for 2016-17 came after a similar reduction in 2015-16 when the service’s budget was slashed by £8.8million.
He said: “We are seriously concerned for the health and safety of the public because this will put lives at risk.”
The GMB which represents ambulance services said the cuts would lead to redundancies and impact on ambulance response times in a number of roles, including ambulance support staff, along with office and IT roles.
The GMB said cuts of £20million in just two years for ‘purely financial reasons’ was ‘bound to put even more pressure on hard-pressed staff.’
The union body will attend a meeting today to discuss the implications of the cuts.
Colin Griffiths, GMB regional officer, said the reductions came as no surprise, adding the union would work with the Trust to minimise job losses as much as possible and explore all available options.
“West Midlands Ambulance Trust provides first class patient care and we will do everything in our power to make sure this continues.”
In a statement, WMAS trust chief executive, Anthony Marsh said: “Due to extreme financial pressures facing West Midlands Ambulance Service, planning is taking place to ensure patients continue to receive the high standards of service we are known for.
“The Trust will operate within the financial restrictions placed upon it and will do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies but they cannot be ruled out at this stage.
“Consultations are under way with our trade union representatives to explore all available options. No frontline staff will be affected.”