AMBULANCE officials have hit back at claims that the service is in disarray by announcing a host of new measures.
MP Helen Jones subjected ambulance boss Janet Davies to a scathing attack in the House of Commons on Wednesday night. The MP alleged that the problems had started after Ms Davies's appointment.
But Mersey Regional Ambulance Service non-executive directors have expressed their full confidence in the chief executive and the service is set for radical changes to alleviate problems.
Associate director of emergency control rooms and patient transport services, Andy Hickson, is seeing through some short and long-term changes.
Mr Hickson said: "We've drawn up a detailed action plan in partnership with staff representatives.
"There has been a £300,000 investment in new software, including a programme called BT Symposium, which prioritises the calls and can direct them to the most appropriate call taker, so emergency calls can go to our most experienced operators.
"There was also an internal advert asking for administration, managerial and financial staff who were interested in training to take calls because this new computer system can train to three levels, routine, urgent and emergency.
"So now we can train secretaries, managers and office staff to take routine calls, and draft them in when we have a spike in activity or at busy times like New Years Eve."
As well as drafting in non-control based staff, extra dedicated control call takers have been employed. Mr Hickson added: "We have had a recruitment drive, with seven vacancies filled and the board has taken the decision to increase the number of call takers by 15 this financial year, so they will be all be trained by April."
Mr Hickson said that an advantage of the new software is that it will match the location of an incident to the nearest ambulance, without relying on local knowledge.
Ambulance bosses received a budget of £27m for the year up to next March and they hope for almost £5m extra when the new budget is announced.