WEST Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) bosses are celebrating after being given the go-ahead to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

The change means the organisation will be freed from government direction to take control of their own budgets and strategy.

Gaining foundation status is the culmination of a two-year project by (WMAS) and makes it the fifth out of 11 ambulance trusts in England to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

Anthony Marsh, WMAS chief executive, said: “Our staff have invested a huge amount of time improving still further, the clinical care to patients within the region.

“The success of our application means we have met the relevant quality thresholds. This stands us in good stead to invest in the future to enhance services locally.”

The trust already has a directly-elected members’ council consisting of 15 public and five staff governors together with appointed representatives from nine partner organisations.

Although WMAS will no longer be dictated to by politicians, it will, like all NHS Foundation Trusts, be regulated by watchdogs Monitor and the Care Quality Commission as well as having to lay annual reports and accounts before Parliament.

WMAS chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, said: “Achieving NHS foundation trust status will ensure the Trust is even more responsive to the needs of patients.”

For more information visit www.wmas.nhs.uk