A MAJOR shake-up is being proposed at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which could give the public a greater say in how it is run.

The service has applied to become an NHS foundation trust and is urging residents across the region to air their views on the plans.

David Whiting, Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s chief executive, said the organisation wanted to become a foundation trust to bring it closer to the communities they serve and to give local people and other organisations more say in the delivery and development of services.

He said: “The journey towards becoming a foundation trust begins with us sharing details about our future plans and encouraging people to have their say.

“We have produced a consultation document which explains this process and why the views of the people of Yorkshire are such an important part of it. Our staff will also be going out and about around the region to speak to people too.

“Ultimately, we hope that people from all walks of life throughout Yorkshire will be inspired by our future plans for their ambulance service and will want to get involved.

“We also hope that they will choose to become ‘members’ of their local ambulance service and register their interest to do this as part of the consultation exercise.”

A spokeswoman said the plan marked an “important phase” in the history of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which covers an area with five million people.

She said that by becoming a foundation trust, members of the public and partner organisations would be able to become involved in shaping and developing the service in the future, to better suit the needs of local people and for the benefit of patients.

Under the proposals, the service would remain part of the NHS and continue to offer free services, but become more independent financially and be more accountable.

The trust has today launched a consultation, and is asking staff and the public to have their say. The results will form part of the application to become an NHS foundation trust which is scheduled to go to the Department of Health in the summer of 2012.

The three-month public consultation runs until December 4. Copies of the consultation document can be viewed online or are available by emailing: foundationtrust@yas.nhs.uk or calling 01924 584567.