A Midland MP has given a cautious welcome to plans to merge ambulance services.
Dr Richard Taylor (Ind Wyre Forest) said he supported proposals to replace the four West Midland ambulance trusts with one giant body, as long as local call centres remain.
The changes are part of a national of ambulance services, which includes training paramedics to provide more treatment at home, and providing advice from telephone operators to patients who dial 999 with problems which are not emergencies.
Every ambulance trust will also become part of an English ambulance service, instead of operating independently as they do now.
The West Midlands currently has four trusts - Coventry & Warwickshire; Hereford & Worcester; Staffordshire, and West Midlands Ambulance Service, which covers Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
But these will be replaced by a single service, under proposals drawn up by local health authorities and sent to councils, MPs and patient forums as part of a "pre-consultation".
Some MPs have warned that important local knowledge could be lost as a result of the merger. There is also concern that the change is part of a general shift from away from local to regional services.
But in his response to the initial consultation, Dr Taylor said he did not object to the idea of one ambulance trust for the West Midlands.
However, he added that it was essential to preserve the Hereford and Worcestershire call centre, in Bransford, Worcester.
He said: "There has been huge investment here and now it is possible to see at a glance where each ambulance in the two counties is situated to the nearest street.
"It would be criminal to lose this facility and if other local call centres are as well developed, the same would apply to them." It was also important local ambulance stations continued to operate, he said.
"This also is vital, particularly for areas like Wyre Forest where there is no A&E closer than 30 minutes on a good day, and where again considerable amounts of money, some charitable, have been spent on updating the local ambulance."
Health service union Unison has backed the plan, saying it would encourage best practice. A full public consultation will be carried out before final decisions are made.