The nation's best ambulance service is set to be abolished, MPs have warned.
Ministers were urged to scrap plans to merge Staffordshire Ambulance Service, in a Commons debate. The service is to join forces with three others to create one giant service for the entire West Midlands region.
The reforms are part of a trend towards services based on the nine official regions of England.
Fire services and health authorities are also merging to create regional bodies, and police constabularies are likely to go the same way.
MPs poured scorn on claims that merging ambulance services would lead to the entire West Midlands enjoying the same high standards as Staffordshire.
Charlotte Atkins (Lab Staffordshire Moorlands): "Time and again I have heard Ministers say that the objective is to bring the rest of the West Midlands up to Staffordshire's standards. Let us not kid ourselves.
" Staffordshire's performance has been achieved over ten years of development. It has been achieved only through the determination and vision of one man, Roger Thayne, the chief executive of Staffordshire Ambulance.
" The NHS is hugely resistant to change. Ambulance services have for years known why Staffordshire is better, but they have been unwilling to follow in Staffordshire's footsteps. It will not happen with this merger; in fact, the reality of reorganisation is that the ambulance system in the west midlands will be
disturbed for some time."
She added: "More lives are saved by ambulance services in Staffordshire than elsewhere. They achieve 200 successful resuscitations from cardiac arrests every year.
" Staffordshire is the cheapest service. Why? Because it is the most efficient. It can treat 40 per cent of emergency and urgent responses at home saving £100 per hospital visit." She was backed by Janet Dean (Lab Burton), who said: "I echo her comments about the Staffordshire Ambulance Service, which is consistently the best in the country, offers value for money, and is innovative. If it is not broken, we should not try to fix it."
And Tony Wright (Lab Cannock Chase) said it was "daft" to abolish a service that was performing " outstandingly well".
Health Minister Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, attempted to reassure critics.
He said: "The plans that have been put forward in the West Midlands confirm that there is a need for local call centres, and local management autonomy and flexibility, if we are to preserve the advantages and secure the further advantages of the plans for new investment."