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Ambulance service still missing key emergency response targets in Norfolk and Suffolk

15:16 03 November 2014

Anthony Marsh, the chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust. Photo: Steve Adams

Anthony Marsh, the chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust. Photo: Steve Adams

Turning around the performance of the region’s ambulance service could take two years, according to health chiefs who admit there are not enough staff to deal with increasing numbers of 999 calls.

As new figures show response times to some life-threatening emergencies in Norfolk are still below government targets, the man tasked with transforming the East of England Ambulance Service Trust said, despite “significant progress”, there was no quick fix.

The latest performance figures announced by the East of England Ambulance Service show the service was still well below target in North Norfolk and South Norfolk during September. Only in Norwich was a government target for the most serious cases hit.

The government target is for 75pc of responses to Red 1 and Red 2 calls - life threatening emergencies - to be made within eight minutes.

But in North Norfolk, ambulances only reached 42.42pc of Red 1 cases and 36.42pc of Red 2 cases within that time, with the Red 2 performance the worst it has been in the past six months.

In West Norfolk the figures were 42pc for Red 1 cases and 46.18pc for Red 2 cases. In West Norfolk it was 67.44pc and 54.42pc; in Norwich it was 81.13pc and 74.32pc and in Great Yarmouth and Waveney it was 70.37pc and 66.02pc.

Although the Great Yarmouth and Waveney figures were below the target, it was one of the best performances in that area over the past six months.

In West Suffolk, 70.37pc of Red 1 cases were reached within eight minutes and 54.49pc of Red 2 emergencies.

The trust’s chief executive Anthony Marsh, who took on the role in January, said it would take two years to turn around the service.

He said: “I recognise that ambulance response times are not good enough and this is that because I inherited an organisation which simply did not have enough paramedics – a shortfall of about 700 paramedics.

“We are tackling these issues and we have made significant progress. Our staff are working as hard as they can to get to patients as quickly as possible, but there are not enough staff to deal with increasing numbers of 999 calls.

“I am very proud of my staff for working under this extraordinary pressure. I ask that we all please support our ambulance staff.”

The organisation has made more than 500 job offers in its student paramedic programme, with 122 already working and a further 125 training.

The EDP has been scrutinising performance through our Ambulance Watch campaign.

• Do you have a health story? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

10 comments

  • The NHS is crumbling under the Tories' misrule and they wouldn't have it any other way. Billions taken in cuts using the deception of 'reforms' are still cuts. All NHS bills supported by MP Chloe Smith I believe. "We'll cut the deficit, not the NHS", as proclaimed by David Cameron before the last general election, was a particularly fine pork pie, if I do say so myself...

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014

  • I agree loco. All the press and public ever do is complain. Its clear that many calls for an ambulance are not needed and ambulances are often caught up with dealing with community issues such as mental health rather than attending real medical emergencies. Its how the service is used that's the problem rather than the ambulance service itself.

    Report this comment

    getalife

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • Why are ambulances waiting at AE depts I think the answer is why do some [people go to the hospital when sometimes their cases can be treated either by their GP or go to one of the walk in centres, also do some people not realize that several factors could hold up the service ie: traffic jams, bridges up road works etc, I know some will say they have sirens and blue lights but sometimes they are used to no avail. Instead of putting the blame on the service we should also be looking at how joe public treat this service at times. Ambulance crews do a sterling job so do not knock them.

    Report this comment

    loco

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • All I can say is, if its going to take 2 years to get on track with their response times, then god help the people who need an ambulance in the next 2 years !!!

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • Of course NHS services will fail as they always will under the Tories.The Tory party want the NHS to fail and are setting it up to do so.You never could trust the Tories with the NHS,including the yellow Tories too.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • Dr Marsh has the privilege of leading two very large ambulance services and claims a very big salary for the privilege. As with any CEO the buck stops with him if the organisation he leads is underperforming. Whilst I acknowledge the problems of getting enough staff into service Dr Marsh seems to be yet another CEO who has promised the earth but doesn't seem to be able to deliver on his promises. After all It was Dr Marsh who insisted that EEAST didn't need breaking up into two services and it was his plan on how to turn the service around that was the basis of him being offered his exceptionally well remunerated position as part time CEO. No one who works in the emergency services does it for gratitude as job satisfaction and a reasonable remuneration should be enough reward. However, as always the case in the NHS and British public life if Dr Marsh succeeds he'll be undoubtedly be rewarded by either a medal or other decoration. If however, he fails he'll still have a full time job and an awful lot of money in the bank. From his perspective it is a win-win situation, for the public in Norfolk and Suffolk it is possibly a case of life or death if the service they should be entitled to expect isn't up to the task. Regrettably, the whole shambles occurred under this government so it really is time some heads rolled!

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • whenever I go to either kings lynn or norwich hospital I see queues of ambulances waiting to offload, how can ambulances keep to schedule if they are being held up at the hospitals. need more A&E staff.

    Report this comment

    great grandma

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • You don't get better service by employing a part time, over paid leader

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • Nothing has changed because the new ambulances and new Student Paramedics are both PR stunts. New ambulances are not EXTRA ambulances as reported, they have replaced old stock. Student Paramedic recruitment has seen large numbers 'Upskilled' from internal frontline roles (EMT & ECA) which with the remaining recruitment replacing the natural wastage and exile of trained staff over the past 6 years of littleno paramedic recruitment. Both of these have NOT created any extra capacity therefore times will still not be met. Jono: Calling for Lord Howe's head will make no difference either: Will Act on Ambulances campaign against issues if a Labour government get in to power? NO! If Denice Burke becomes MP for North Norfolk, Act on Ambulances will stop campaigning. If a campaign group for better ambulance services in NorfolkEast of England is to be successful it needs to be apolitical and lead by people with sector relevant experience.

    Report this comment

    Panda

    Monday, November 3, 2014

  • The EDP should be calling for Lord Howe's head like the Act on Ambulances campaign. Remember last month's front page story that response times would get better every month for the next 3 months? It's got worse!

    Report this comment

    Jono

    Monday, November 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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