West Midlands Ambulance Service

Last updated

West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust
TypeUniversity NHS Foundation Trust
Established1 July 2006
Headquarters Brierley Hill, West Midlands, England
Region served West Midlands region, England
NHS region NHS England
Area size5,000 square miles (13,000 km2)
Population5.6 million
Budget£227 million
ChairSir Graham Medlum
Chief executiveAnthony C Marsh
Website www.wmas.nhs.uk

The West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) is the second-largest ambulance service, and the first university ambulance trust in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services within the West Midlands region of England.


The Trust provides an extensive network of non-emergency patient transport services. Currently, contracts are operated in Birmingham, the Black Country, Arden and Cheshire. The contract for Worcestershire, which has been run by the ambulance service for 30 years, was lost to a private provider despite WMAS scoring more highly in the quality of patient services. This contract will be run until the end of March 2020. Each contract currently exceeds all of the performance metrics set by Commissioners.

The trust is currently under the leadership of chief executive Anthony Marsh CStJ 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 the highest-performing ambulance services in England and one of only two to exceed all of its national performance targets in 2018-19 It employs around 6,500 staff and is supported by about 1,000 volunteers. It has 15 large ‘Make Ready’ hubs where vehicles are prepared, maintained and cleaned by specialist staff ready for the clinical staff to use for treating patients. The Trust now responds to over 1,000,000 999 emergency calls every year. In November 2019, the Trust took over the running of the 111 service in the West Midlands (except Staffordshire).

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 further graded Outstanding by CQC inspectors during August 2019, with an Outstanding rating being given for four out of the five key areas being inspected. It is also in Segmentation One in the rating by NHS Improvement.


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. [1]

On 1 October 2007 the service merged with Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. [1] [2]

It became an NHS foundation trust on 1 January 2013. [3]

It was announced on 14 November 2018, that the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust had gone into partnership with the University of Wolverhampton to form the UK's first university-ambulance trust. It has since signed similar agreements with Staffordshire University, Coventry University, the University of Worcester and The University of Warwick. As a result, the trust has changed its name to West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust. [4] [5]


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. [6]

In 2017 it got an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission - the only ambulance trust to do so. This has been continued with a new CQC report in 2019 improving its outstanding status. [7]

Emergency Operations Centres

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: [8] 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. WMAS now operates one of the most sophisticated dispatch systems in the country from two Emergency Operations Centres based at Millenium Point, Brierley Hill (Trust HQ) and Tollgate Drive, Stafford. They operate as a single virtual EOC so waiting calls at either of the Trusts two EOCs can be answered by the other. This increases the speed at which vehicles can be dispatched.


As of 2019, the trust had over 450 emergency ambulances with a similar number of non-emergency patient transport service vehicles.

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


Herefordshire and Worcestershire

The Trust operates Make already Hubs in Hereford, Worcester and Bromsgrove. There are also community stations in Leominster, Malvern, Pershore, Evesham and Stourport. In 2019 the trust lost the contract for patient transport in Worcestershire to a private firm, E-zec Medical Transport, which already operates the contract in Herefordshire. The trust said it lost out because it "refused to compromise on patient safety", and was not prepared to bid for the price offered. [10]


There are make ready hubs in Shrewsbury and Donnington (Telford) with community stations in Bridgnorth, Craven Arms, Market Drayton & Oswestry.


There are make ready hubs in Stafford, Lichfield and Stoke-on-Trent With community sites in Biddulph, Uttoxeter and Leek.

Coventry & Warwickshire

There are make ready hubs in Warwick and Coventry with community ambulance stations in Rugby and Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Birmingham and the Black Country

There are two make ready hubs in the Birmingham area sited at Hollymoor, and Erdington.

The Black Country is served by make ready hubs in Dudley, Willenhall and West Bromwich.

In addition, the HART & MERIT base is sited in Oldbury.

See also

Other emergency medical services

Other emergency services


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  1. 1 2 "Health Care Commission: WMAS" . Retrieved 4 April 2008.
  2. "Midlands ambulance trusts merge". BBC News. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  3. http://www.wmas.nhs.uk/about-us>
  4. "New Partnership blue lights the way for University and Ambulance Service". 14 November 2018.
  5. "New partnership 'blue lights' the way for University and Ambulance Service". 14 November 2018.
  6. "Trust sought millions in compensation for 'horrendous' handover delays". Health Service Journal. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  7. "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.
  8. West Midlands Control Room Option Appraisal (10/10/2007)
  9. http://www.wmas.nhs.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MN3F174SMVY%3d&tabid=149&mid=1081.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. "West Midlands Ambulance Service staff 'in tears' with 80 jobs 'at risk' as private firm awarded patient contract". Birmingham Live. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2020.