Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The meeting of Western Area Partnership Board tonight had a presentation from the North East Ambulance Service on their application to become a Foundation Trust, seeking support from the public for the application. We saw a DVD of the ambulance service's work and were given a nice glossy booklet about it. Then the board spent half an hour or more questioning the two representatives at some length. There were issues about how people could "advise" the trust, questions about whether going to a business model would take away from the public service model, questions about what right the trust have to exclude "vexatious individuals" from membership and more. At the end it was pointed out that although an erratum slip was included, changing two of the questions in the light of previous consultations there was still another question which didn't make sense! There was no answer to the question of how much this exercise is costing - money which might otherwise have been invested in the ambulance service, except that the government has decreed that such Foundation trusts are the best way to go so who are we mere mortals to object.
The consultation document and questionnaire is available online and anyone with an interest in the NE ambulance service should read it and answer the questions - if you don't make your voice heard you can't complain that it isn't working the way you want.
Most of the rest of the meeting was taken up with a consultation from SBC couched in such jargon that most people round the table didn't know what they were being asked! It took rather a long time to get to the point of comprehension.
At the end of the evening the highlight was the agreement of some of the young people who'd sat through this session to meet up with us and discuss the best way to be involved in shaping the future of the area for young people. Watch this space.

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