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999 vow as boss takes second job
THE head of the ambulance service which covers Worcestershire will be spending four days a week tackling problems on the other side of the country.
But patients here are being assured their care will not suffer when Anthony Marsh – who will remain chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) – takes up the same role with East of England Ambulance Service.
Dr Marsh will start his new role on Wednesday, January 1, after the WMAS board agreed to release him part-time on secondment. He will be working in the new role four days a week. Health watchdog Peter Pinfield, chairman of Healthwatch Worcestershire, is calling for assurances the ambulance service here will not be disadvantaged.
“Although it is good that expertise and professional knowledge is shared across and between public services, we have to be a little cautious that it does not undermine the very service that we need here in Worcestershire,” he said. “The ambulance service is key to our A&E services and we know how that is under pressure and Healthwatch would seek categorical assurances that the public and patients of the county are not disadvantaged by his secondment.”
But West Midlands Ambulance Service chairman Sir Graham Meldrum insisted the service here will not suffer.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” he said.
“Although we recognise that we are all part of the NHS, our focus must be on ensuring that the patients of the West Midlands continue to receive the very highest level of care.”
He said: “Between now and the beginning of January, Mr Marsh will implement a number of arrangements which will ensure that there is suitable continuity within this trust.” Assurances have also been given that taxpayers in the West Midlands will not be picking up the bill for sorting out problems elsewhere. West Midlands Ambulance Service said Dr Marsh will receive “additional remuneration given the added responsibilities” but that exact details have not been finalised with the Trust Development Authority, which appointed him to the new role.
But a spokesman for the Trust Development Authority assured your Worcester News that the East of England will pick up the tab for their fair share of Dr Marsh’s services.
“He will receive effectively the same salary for doing a five-day-a-week job whether it is in the West Midlands or East of England,” he said.
“The part that has got to be worked out is making sure that the West Midlands does not lose out.” Dr Marsh’s appointment comes after he was commissioned to write a report into East of England Ambulance Service due to concerns over the trust’s performance.
And East of England Ambulance Service says the arrival of the 26-year ambulance service veteran will “accelerate” its improvement plans.