Local government changes in 1974 brought about two significant changes to the City of Liverpool Ambulance Service and its surrounding partner services. These being the merger of the services that formed part of the new County of Merseyside and secondly the change of responsibility and control to that of the National Health Service. The second change shows a milestone moment in people’s mind-sets that the Ambulance Service was now being recognised as a key healthcare provider as opposed to that of a transport organisation.
From its origins the Chief of the new MMAS was Albert Guinney who would continue to lead the organisation until his retirement in 1988.
The Ambulance Services that merged to form the new service in line with freshly drawn up Local Authority boundaries were:-
Cheshire Ambulance Service (Part of)
City of Liverpool Ambulance.
Bootle Borough Ambulance.
Lancashire County Ambulance. (Part of)
Birkenhead Fire and Ambulance.
Wallasey Fire and Ambulance.
St. Helens Ambulance.
Southport Fire and Ambulance.
The merger started to break down barriers relating to response and patient care and the old boundary lines which could often hinder or delay response started to be overcome. It would take a long time to truly become one joined up service but the "coming together' started with this merger. Divisional pride and rivalry would continue for many years the City of Liverpool Ambulance Service being proud of its Liver Birds, Lancashire County being as equally proud of its County links and the Wirral Services being proud of their links with the Fire Service. For many years there would be much debate and wrangling around whose vehicles, equipment, uniform and procedures were the best.
One of the barriers that the Ambulance Service were very successful in breaking down was that of rapid primary or backup response across the River Mersey between the Wirral Division and the Central Liverpool Division. In 1974 there were now two Mersey Road Tunnels and a quick phone call from the Control Rooms to the Mersey Tunnel Police would see the barriers open and a Mersey Tunnel Police Land-rover eagerly waiting to escort the ambulance from side to the other. The tunnels were just seen as another road linking two areas whereas other services struggled with this concept for a while.