THE South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) has been awarded ‘foundation status’, giving it greater control over how it runs.

SCAS provides emergency ambulance care in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.

As a Foundation Trust, SCAS will have greater freedom from Government control, but will stay part of the NHS and subject to NHS standards, performance ratings and inspections.

The trust first started the foundation application process in late 2010, and it was formally approved yesterday.

The application came as SCAS, which has its HQ in Bicester, was told it has to make £6m yearly savings over the next five years.

SCAS chairman Trevor Jones said: “Achieving Foundation Trust status means that SCAS will be more accountable to local people and we will have more freedom to decide how to run and deliver our services.

“We look forward to working with members and our newly elected governors in developing our future strategy and service development.”

SCAS is now looking for 4,000 people to join as public members by March 2013.

Volunteers will help to steer the way the trust delivers services into the future.

Chief executive Will Hancock said: “With the public’s help we will use our NHS Foundation Trust status to move more rapidly in the direction we wish to go – delivering world-class services under new models of care, and retaining our position as one of the leading ambulances services in England.”