TWENTY-four hour ambulance cover will be provided in Wensleydale by April 2003, an ambulance trust chief promised this week.

Mr Tim Lynch, the new director of patient services for the Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance service NHS Trust (Tenyas), said the ambulance station at Bainbridge will be manned throughout the week.

He also told the upper Wensleydale parish forum on Wednesday evening that the Richmond roving ambulance service would be extended to seven days a week and for longer hours each day.

He said that in his previous job with the ambulance service in Cumbria, he had abolished standby arrangements at seven rural stations. He added that standby arrangements were not good for the staff either.

But even with improvements in the Wensleydale service, there would still be a need to consider community involvement in providing a "first response" medical service in the villages, especially for those suffering a heart attack, he said.

Mr Lynch said the air ambulance service would continue but emphasised it was only available in good weather and daylight hours. The standard ambulance service in the rural areas of Hambleton and Richmondshire had to be improved to bring it closer to the government's response time standards.

l THE Yorkshire air ambulance has moved to a winter base at the Elvington air museum, near York, because poor weather has caused take-off problems at its usual home, Leeds-Bradford airport.

The 140mph helicopter will also make use of the RAF bases at Leeming and Dishforth, where it can take advantage of cheaper fuel through an agreement between the RAF and the national association of air ambulances.