A bid to merge ambulance service in the south west region, from Gloucestershire down to Cornwall has taken a step closer.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been asked to approve the creation of a single sevice from the Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (GWAS) and the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS).

The move, which could happen as early as February 2013 could see jobs lost, however it is not clear how many staff will be affected.

Ken Wenman, chief executive of both organisations, said: "It is reassuring that at no stage of the process have there been any concerns that the partnership should not proceed and we are now looking forward to receiving final approval from the secretary of state."

He added that there had been "rigorous scrutiny" of the plans by external bodies.

South Western Ambulance Service covers Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as well as parts of Somerset and Dorset.