West Midlands Ambulance Service

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West Midlands Ambulance Service
Created 1st July 2006
Made foundation January 2013
Headquarters Brierley Hill, England
Region served Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Coventry, Birmingham and Black Country
NHS region NHS England
Area size >5,000 sq miles
Population 5.6 million
Type NHS foundation trust
Budget £227 million
Chair Sir Graham Medlum OBE, OStJ
Chief Exec Dr Anthony C Marsh
Number of employees around 4,500
Website www.wmas.nhs.uk

The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) is the second-largest ambulance service in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. The trust won the contract for non-emergency patient transport services in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral previously provided by the North West Ambulance Service in 2015. It transferred in July 2016.[1] The trust is currently under the leadership of chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh and chair Sir Graham Medlum OBE, OStJ. It is one of 10 Ambulance Trusts providing England with Emergency medical services, and is part of the National Health Service. There is no charge to patients for use of the service.

WMAS was one of the highest performing ambulance services in England and one of only two to exceed all of its national performance targets in 2006-07. It employs around 4,500 staff and is supported by about 1,000 volunteers, over 63 sites, and makes over 450,000 emergency responses every year.

The trust is currently the best performing ambulance service in the NHS, being graded Outstanding by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors in January 2017 and the only ambulance service to meet Government targets.


The trust was formed on 1 July 2006, following the merger of the Hereford & Worcester Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust, and WMAS and Shropshire services.[2] On 1 October 2007 the service merged with Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.[2][3] It became an NHS foundation trust on 1 January 2013.[4]


In the 2017-18 contract negotiations with Clinical commissioning groups,where Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG negotiated on behalf of all the West Midlands CCGs the trust sought financial compensation for the delays to ambulances caused by patient handover delays at local hospitals. WMAS wanted a “full second tariff” on top of the standard tariff for delays over 60 minutes, and “a smaller second tariff” for delays over 30 minutes, which would have come to around £6 million. After mediation by NHS England and NHS Improvement it was agreed to pay the trust an additional £2.1m in 2017-18. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust were singled out as the main culprits.[5]

In 2017 it got an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission - the only ambulance trust to do so.[6]

Emergency Operations Centres[edit]

Following the merger of the trusts, WMAS inherited a number of standalone control rooms. This resulted in 5 centres spread across the region operating independently using varying levels of technology at sites:[7] Millennium Point, Brierley Hill, Tollgate Drive, Stafford, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Bransford, Worcester and Dale St, Leamington Spa. On 28 November 2007, the Trust agreed to go ahead with proposals for the reconfiguration of its Emergency Operations Centres, despite vocal protests from the public. WMAS now operates from two Emergency Operations Centres based at Millenium Point, Brierley Hill (Trust HQ) and Tollgate Drive, Stafford. It also operates a virtual EOC so waiting calls at either of the Trusts two EOCs can be answered by the other, even if the call isn't designated to that control room. This increases the speed at which vehicles can be dispatched.


As of 2015, the trust had over 400 vehicles, including patient transport services vehicles, rapid response vehicles, motorcycle response units, and of course ambulance crews.

  • 402 Emergency Response Ambulances
  • 108 Rapid Response Vehicles (made up of various 4x4 models and estate cars)
  • 263 Patient Transport Service vehicle - these are non emergency-capable vehicles without Emergency Equipment fitted used for transporting patients to/from/between medical treatment facilities and patients home addresses
  • 31 Major Incident vehicles, used to support large-scale incidents where multiple ambulances may be overwhelmed or there is the requirement for a co-ordinated response across Emergency Response services.

In addition to the fleet, the Service has several specialist teams available should the requirement arise

  • The Medical Emergency Response Intervention Team (MERIT) are a Critical Care Paramedic and Trauma Doctor responding to emergencies in a Rapid Response Vehicle.
  • See Hazardous Area Response Team
  • In times of emergency, WMAS also requests assistance from voluntary ambulance providers, such as St John Ambulance.[8] St John Ambulance (SJA) also provides 'A&E Support' crews at times when there is a high level of staff absence or there is an unusually high call volume. This arrangement sees SJA crews attending Emergency or Non-Emergency calls. SJA crews may treat and transport certain categories of patient, although they are expected to ask for further assistance for more serious patients.
  • WMAS can dispatch any of 3 air ambulances from the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, carrying a specially trained doctor and critical care paramedic at all times.
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service are supported by several BASICS-affiliated charities, who provide volunteer doctors and nurses to support the regular ambulance service staff at more serious incidents.
  • On some evenings and all weekends, support for front-line crews is provided by the West Midlands CARE Team. The CARE Team is a volunteer group of BASICS doctors and nurses, conveyed in a specially equipped fast response car by a paramedic officer to provide advanced medical care at the scene of an incident.
  • In Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) is available to supplement and assist WMAS crews.
  • North Staffordshire BASICS provide similar support in the north of the WMAS region.
  • In times of severe weather, WMAS also has the ability to call on the Severn Area Rescue Association who have 4x4 ambulances.[9]
  • WMAS can dispatch Community First Responder, who are volunteers working in partnership with WMAS, to medical emergencies in their local communities. These schemes are located all throughout the West Midlands, mostly located in rural areas where response times are longer.



In 2011, a new system was announced for the operations of ambulance services in Herefordshire, whereby Hereford would serve as the 24-hour "hub" where all vehicles would be serviced, maintained and held before all shifts.[10] Former stations include: Leominster, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Bromyard, Kington, and Leintwardine - closed in late 1990s


Stations include: Shrewsbury, Donnington (Telford)


Burton, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Stafford, Tamworth, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire Moorlands


Community Ambulance Stations include Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby St.Cross Stratford-upon-Avon, Soon to close Rugby and Nuneaton

West Midlands Conurbation[edit]

Henrietta street As of the last quarter of 2013 The Birmingham area moved to Aston Fire Station as a temporary move while it awaits confirmation of a new City Centre site amalgamating with West Midlands Fire Service into a City Centre "Emergency Services Hub" Other small stations moved into 2 main "Hubs" at Erdington and Hollymoor which form a make ready system where ambulances are prepared prior to crew shift time commencement. There is also a sub hub in North Birmingham based at Solihull Hospital. A Response car is based at a community ambulance station in Dorridge (Knowle).

In February 2017 the trust closed the Aston Fire Station response point. Relocating the staff to the two main Birmingham hubs of Erdington and Hollymoor.

In May 2017 the Motorcycle response unit was also abolished with the remaining staff moving to different operational areas of the trust.

Black Country The Black Country is served by ‘Make Ready’ hubs: Dudley, Willenhall and West Bromwich. A number of much smaller but widely spread Community Ambulance Stations (CAS) closed with the removal of RRVs from operations. Previous CAS sites included Stourbridge, Cradley Heath, Tipton, Halesowen, etc.


Stations include: Worcester, *Kidderminster, Droitwich, Malvern, Evesham, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Stourport and Pershore.

See also[edit]

Other emergency medical services[edit]

Other emergency services[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "North West Ambulance Service loses contract to cover Cheshire". Chester Chronicle. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Health Care Commission: WMAS". Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  3. ^ "Midlands ambulance trusts merge". BBC News. 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
  4. ^ http://www.wmas.nhs.uk/about-us>
  5. ^ "Trust sought millions in compensation for 'horrendous' handover delays". Health Service Journal. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Worcester paramedic receives award from West Midlands Ambulance Service after stopping man self harming with a knife". Worcester News. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  7. ^ West Midlands Control Room Option Appraisal (10/10/2007)
  8. ^ "Shropshire's response to the flooding". July 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
  9. ^ http://www.wmas.nhs.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MN3F174SMVY%3d&tabid=149&mid=1081. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ [1]

External links[edit]