Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum submitted from the Ambulance Service Association (26 April 2002)

Letter from the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service Association to the Chairman of the Committee (26 April 2002)

  When Gron Roberts, the ASA President, and Peter Bradley gave evidence to your Committee on 17 April you asked them for comments on the recently published NAO report on Airwave. In particular you asked for comments on the issues the report raised about interoperability of communication systems between the three emergency services following the decision to have separate procurement exercises.

  We have now had the opportunity to look at the report and to discuss it with colleagues in ambulance trusts and elsewhere in the NHS. We do not take the view that the report highlights major problems with interoperability for the three emergency services.

  The ASA remains committed to a system that offers full interoperability. This need has been included in the User Requirement Specification that has been drawn up through consultation between Ambulance Service Trusts, the NHS Information Authority and the NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency and will form the basis of the technical specification for the procurement that we hope will start shortly.

  We have also agreed with colleagues from the police service, represented by ACPO, and the fire service, represented by CACFOA, an interoperability agreement that will meet all foreseeable operational requirements of the NHS ambulance service. This is also being incorporated into the specification.

  I hope this allays the concerns expressed by you and your colleagues last week.

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