A new, non-emergency ambulance contract for Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral will see additional staff based locally to provide higher standards of care, according to NHS bosses.
NHS commissioners have awarded a five-year contract to West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).
The service will provide around 180,000 journeys a year, taking patients from their homes to hospitals and treatment centres for consultations, treatments and procedures including services relating to cancer, renal failure and bariatric surgery.
The contract will start from 6 April 2019.
WMAS will use 30 more vehicles than the previous contract, most of which are wheelchair accessible.
The number of operating bases will increase from three to five, with sites in Macclesfield and on the Wirral complementing those in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Warrington.
This means staff will not have to travel as far to work and will be able to operate more regularly in areas with which they are familiar.
Dr Julia Huddart, clinical lead for urgent and emergency care at NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commented: “We and our partners recognised that this is an essential service for eligible patients.
“For that reason, we required potential providers to bid against a robust operating model that would ensure a high-quality, reliable and accessible service.
“The service specification was shaped by users of the existing service, with whom we worked closely throughout the tendering process.”
Michelle Brotherton, WMAS non-emergency services operational delivery director, added: “Putting patient care first has always been our number one priority and we feel this new contract will allow us to provide the level of patient care we feel is appropriate.
“Our bid was the perfect balance of value for money and quality.”
The contract was awarded by NHS Wirral CCG for both itself and on behalf of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, NHS South Cheshire CCG, NHS Vale Royal CCG, NHS Warrington CCG, NHS West Cheshire CCG.