UNION bosses have criticised the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) over cuts to frontline services including removing day vehicles from Warrington.

NWAS announced plans to save £13.8m in the next year and GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, has warned the move will affect patients.

But Alan Stuttard, director of finance for NWAS, has said the proposals are still under discussion.

Currently Warrington station on Farrel Street has three emergency ambulances working 24/7 and two rapid response vehicles as well as surrounding areas also covering the town.

The proposal means one of the emergency ambulances operational hours will be reduced by 7.5 hours.

It is not yet known whether the proposal will affect an additional vehicle which had previously been proposed or the three current vehicles but an NWAS spokesman said any reduction would first go through an impact risk assessment.

She added: “We’re not going to reduce the hours during busy periods.

“It will be during a time when we get more green calls which are non life-threatening and will be decided based on levels of activity.”

The GMB also criticised ambulance bosses for cutting services when they claim NWAS has a ‘£34 million under spend in the bank’.

Mr Stuttard replied: “In an increasingly challenging financial environment, like any organisation, we do need to look at how efficiencies can be made.

“The £34m is not under-spend but monies set aside at the end of the financial year for costs and possible liabilities for example, the tax, national insurance and pensions contributions based on March salaries, the need to invest money to improve systems which could save money in the longer term, any possible claims made against the Trust or to pay outstanding bills received in March.

“It equates to only six to seven weeks of total running costs for the Trust as a whole.

“We have met with the unions to discuss what savings we propose to make and possible ways in which we can achieve these and will continue to do so as we progress.”