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East of England’s ambulance boss says patients are still waiting too long, but tells MPs he is on track with his turnaround plans

PUBLISHED: 16:28 08 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:22 08 July 2014

Anthony Marsh

Anthony Marsh

Archant

Patients are still waiting too long for ambulances - but the turnaround plan is on track, the East of England’s ambulance boss has said.

During a meeting in Westminster six months into his tenure, Anthony Marsh told MPs that staff had embraced his plans drawn up in January.

Dr Marsh, who is chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, said around 300 of 400 student paramedics pledged in his January turnaround plan had been recruited, with the first 100 already in training, with some expected to be out on operations this month.

He also said that they needed the “best equipment and the best and newest ambulances”, adding that 147 new vehicles were already on the streets, with a further 120 on order and due to be in place by next March.

However, he acknowledged that waiting times were still too long, adding: “We cannot recruit those staff and train them any quicker than we already are. “It is going to take time. When you inherit that sheer number of vacancies it takes two years to train and recruit them. That is the simple fact of the matter.”

He said his plans needed to be repeated next year, and it would take two years to restore an ambulance service that the East of England “could be proud of”.

Dr Marsh said that he thought MPs were really encouraged by his update, adding: “All the indications, everything I pledged in January, we are now delivering.

“Previously promises were made about improvements and the promises were not even delivered, let alone the outputs.”

But he added: “There is another 18 months hard work to fulfil.”

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