THE head of Yorkshire Ambulance Service has warned there is much to do if the trust is to achieve foundation status in 12 months.

Chief executive David Whiting said his staff had reason to be proud after an eventful 2011 in which the service successfully fought off criticism for the amount of written complaints it received, while also seeing an improvement in response times.

Mr Whiting said: “Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has much to be proud of.

“We are now responding to patients more quickly than ever before and have seen some really positive results in relation to the quality of clinical care we provide.

“Over the last three months we have been consulting on our plans to achieve NHS foundation trust status, which will give us greater freedom to shape the way we provide and develop our services for patients.

“We still have a lot of work to do before we gain foundation trust status but hope this will happen in December 2012.”

Under the proposals for foundation trust status, the service would remain part of the NHS and continue to offer free care, but would become more independent financially and be more accountable.

He said: “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all YAS staff for all their hard work and dedication; I know we share a real sense of achievement and pride in the work that we do for the people of Yorkshire. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2012.”

The service covers almost 6,000 square miles and serves a population of more than five million people. It receives an average of 1,900 emergency and urgent calls per day and employs more than 4,400 staff.