East Anglia Ambulance Service under Fire

A damning report has revealed Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Ambulance Services have failed to meet response targets every month of the last financial year.

National standards require emergency services to reach targets of 75% of most urgent cases in eight minutes and 95% of incidents in 19 minutes.

Ambulance bosses have claimed the failing of these two key targets by the East Anglia Ambulance Service is due to high staff sickness rates, an increase in calls this winter and hospital handover delays.

Suffolk MP and health minister, Dan Poulter, said the findings were ‘hugely disappointing but sadly unsurprising.’

He added: ‘These figures are a sobering reminder of the complete failure of leadership within the ambulance service to face up to the challenge of providing high quality and speedy ambulance cover for Suffolk.’

In an attempt to ease pressure on the service, 15 new ambulances have been introduced to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

However, due to a lack of paramedics willing to work overtime, so far the extra vehicles have been unable to be put to proper use.

It is hoped that performance will improve following the planned recruitment of 75 new paramedics and 124 care assistants by the Trust.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found the Trust non-compliant when it comes to the care and welfare of patients, and the results of a full investigation into the Trust are due to be published next month.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 14 Mar 2013.

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