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“Best paid, worst response rates” - Kirsty Williams attacks financial reward for poor performance at Welsh Ambulance Trust

January 23, 2013 12:56 PM

Kirsty Williams, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has asked the Welsh Labour government to review the salary of the top official at the Welsh Ambulance Trust. It has been revealed that the chair is the highest paid of all the 13 ambulance trusts in Britain but the trust delivers the poorest response rates to category A emergency calls.

Salaries and performance rates complied by the Welsh Liberal Democrats show that the salary of the chair of the Welsh Ambulance Trust is in the highest salary band of all Ambulance Trusts in England, Scotland and Wales despite having the worst response rate to category A emergency calls within eight minutes.

The complied figures also show how the majority of English Ambulance Services met and exceeded their 75% category A target while the Welsh Ambulance Trust was struggling to reach the Welsh Labour government's unambitious target of 65%.

Kirsty Williams AM, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"These figures paint a very telling picture of how the Welsh Labour government runs our NHS and, indeed, how it spends Welsh tax payers' money. We are not getting the best value for money. The chair of the Welsh Ambulance Trust is paid the highest salary despite the trust having the lowest response rates, by a significant margin, when compared with the other 12 ambulance trusts in England and Scotland.

"The chair of the North Western Ambulance Trust, for example, is responsible for an area with a population over 3 times the size of Wales, including similar rural areas like Cumbria, yet they manage to get to 76.6% of urgent calls in eight minutes or less. This is significantly better than the unambitious all-Wales target and yet the chair of that trust is paid £20,000 less than the Welsh chair. What makes Labour think that it is acceptable to reward poor performance like this?

"It is bad enough that we have an all-Wales ambulance target response time 10% below that of ambulance trusts in England and Scotland. What is even worse is that we pay those at the top of our ambulance trust more than all of the other ambulance trusts in Britain. And month after month, we can't even reach that 65% target.

"At a time when local health boards across Wales have to reconfigure services because of Labour's poor handling of NHS finances, I find it outrageous that we are financially rewarding failure and poor performance. Paramedics and staff at the Welsh Ambulance Trust provide a very important service under difficult circumstances. They must find it hard to stomach the amount paid to their chair when they see that his counterparts across Britain are performing better and paid less. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will not tolerate this poor use of NHS money and will continue to expose Labour's poor management of the NHS and its budgets."