The Welsh Labour Health Minister has announced a new consultation on some proposed changes to the ambulance service in Wales. This follows the McClelland strategic review of the service which made a number of recommendations with the aim of:
transforming the way the ambulance service provides care, with greater focus on the most appropriate health care professional treating patients in the right place, and at the right time; and
achieving clear lines of funding and accountability.
Objectives which given the appalling state of the ambulance service in Wales nobody could disagree with. So what is the Minister proposing to do?
Well, as reported by the BBC, he is planning on renaming the service and appointing a Commissioner to oversee the service, advising health boards and policing how their policies are implemented.
Talk about rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Is changing the name really going to improve the service? It won't address the problems of lack of staff and unmanned ambulance stations and missed targets, over and over. What it will inevitably do is cost money, money that the health service, and indeed the Welsh Government, can ill afford
As for appointing a Commissioner, will that really make a difference? We have a Children's Commissioner, an Older People's Commissioner, and a Welsh Language Commissioner. Are they really improving the services they oversee?
Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Children and Young People Aled Roberts a few weeks ago criticised the Welsh Labour Government for paying lip service to the Children's Commissioner. This after failing to tackle issues that appear again and again annual reports from the Commissioner.
The changes needed to make the ambulance service fit for purpose go far beyond this.
As reported on the BBC