Single trust formed after South West ambulance merger

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Two ambulance trusts in the west of England have merged.

Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (GWAS) has joined with South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) to create a single foundation trust.

The merger was approved by the health secretary, and the new trust will cover an area from the Cotswolds to Cornwall.

Critics claim the new trust is too big but the chief executive said it will improve efficiency.

Ken Wenmam said the new trust's larger scale will mean its workforce and budget will be easier to control in the face of government cuts.

The new trust will cover nearly 10,000 square miles (26,000 sq km), and will serve about 5.3 million people.

It employs about 4,000 staff over 100 sites, and has about 1,000 vehicles.

Pre-merger, the two trusts received more than 765,000 calls per year and responded to 690,000 of those.

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