Ambulance Watch: Under-performing 999 trust set for almost £15m extra funding

PUBLISHED: 15:24 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:34 19 May 2014

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley


The GP-led groups in charge of NHS purse strings are set to approve an almost £15m injection of funds to the region’s ambulance service to help turnaround its performance.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) have warned that the East of England Ambulance Service is still a long way from being fit for purpose.

However, officials from the 19 CCGs across six counties hope that the extra funding will provide a key factor in improving the fortunes of the NHS trust, which has been criticised over the last two years for slow response times.

North Norfolk CCG, which has the worst response times in the East, is set to pledge an extra £400,000 to the ambulance service at a meeting tomorrow.

The groups attended a summit last month where a total of £14.9m was requested, which includes £8.8m for the recruitment and training of 420 student paramedics, £3.1m for replacement of vehicles and equipment, and £3m for a voluntary redundancy programme.

A business case put together by the ambulance trust recommends HealthEast, the CCG for Great Yarmouth and Waveney, pays an additional £677,000, Norwich CCG pays £471,000, South Norfolk CCG pays £519,000 and West Norfolk CCG contributes £452,000.

Mark Taylor, chief officer for North Norfolk CCG, said the groups expected an improvement in responses as a result of the extra investment.

“Unless prompt action is taken by EEAST, supported by commensurate and targeted funding by commissioners, it is unlikely that EEAST will deliver the improvements required in local ambulance services.”

“EEAST still has a considerable way to go in order to deliver an ambulance service fit for purpose. This business case is a key step in this improvement. Focus on improving the management capability of the organisation and delivering an efficient service will also be vital to on-going sustainability going forward,” he said.

Anthony Marsh, the ambulance service’s new chief executive, set out plans earlier this year to recruit 400 student paramedics in 2014/15, reduce the reliance on response cars, improve the fleet and equipment replacement programme and reinvest back-office funding in to frontline delivery.

The latest Care Quality Commission report found the trust failed to attend at least 75pc of the most urgent 999 calls within eight minutes in 2012/2013 despite “significant improvements”. However, the latest figures from the trust show that the average response time for life-threatening calls were 19 minutes in March, compared to 28 minutes in January.

Dr Marsh admitted it will “take time to turn the service around” but insisted “good progress” is being made.

“While most get a good service and a quick response, some patients have had to wait far too long for an ambulance.”

“There are not enough paramedics and ambulances, which is why we are increasing ambulance cover and recruiting hundreds of student paramedics.

“Our staff do a fantastic job, despite challenging and difficult situations. We have listened to what our staff and the public have told us and the changes we are making will better support our staff to deliver a better service to patients,” he said.

Dan Poulter, health minister and MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said the “long-overdue” report was “very encouraging”.

“I have been campaigning for years for improvements in the ambulance service to help rural communities in Suffolk and I am very pleased that the trust’s new leadership under Anthony Marsh has produced a credible action plan,” he said.

He said he understood CCGs were “very supportive” of the proposals and added he was “confident” they will be approved.

1 comment

  • I bet all the so called 'executives, managers etc' cannot wait. Bigger pay rises and more expenses and perks for them, and nothing for the service. What happened to the traditional sacking for incompetence then ?. Of course it does not happen in the fairy world of the publicly paid servant.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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

Other news

4 minutes ago

Pupils at a rural primary school have enjoyed a real spring term ‘tweet’ with the arrival of some fluffy friends.

A woman accused of causing a crash in which a 78-year-old man died told a jury she was “devastated” about what happened.

15 minutes ago

Holiday giant Hoseasons has underlined its commitment to Lowestoft once more as they look to recruit talented youngsters from the area.

19 minutes ago

The Three Rivers Talking Newspaper hosted the local talking newspaper quiz night at Bungay Golf Club.

Most Read


A man has suffered ankle injuries following a two vehicle road collision in Oulton Broad.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:37

A carer for a terminally ill man, who stole his bank card and used it to withdraw nearly £3,000 from his account, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Read more
Ipswich Crown Court

Events are taking place across Lowestoft and Waveney today to raise funds for Comic Relief.

Read more
Red Oak Primary School
Wed, 12:04

From next month speeding fines are set to dramatically rise in an attempt to deter drivers from breaking speed limits.

Read more
United Kingdom
Wed, 12:23

Officers pulled over the white van whilst they were on a night patrol in the South Norfolk town.

Read more

Most Commented

Wed, 12:04

From next month speeding fines are set to dramatically rise in an attempt to deter drivers from breaking speed limits.

Read more
United Kingdom
Wed, 10:00

Pop band Little Mix will be heading to Norwich this September to perform a gig in Earlham Park.

Read more
United Kingdom

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 6°C


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter