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East Anglia: Ambulance service faces total of £1.5m in fines for failing to meet targets

18:01 29 August 2014

The ambulance service was called to the scene

The ambulance service was called to the scene

The region’s ambulance service is set to be fined £1.5m for failing to meet key response times.

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The service faces a £1.2m fine for failing to reach 75% of life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes, and a £300,000 fine over missed turnaround time targets at hospitals.

The service, which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, incurred the penalty for failing to meet response times between April and July this year.

A proportion of the total fine, which is a mandatory consequence of ambulance trusts and other NHS providers not meeting national or local performance standards, will be levied at the end of the financial year next March.

The trust could face further financial consequences if performance standards continue to not be met.

Wendy Tankard, chief contracts officer at Ipswich and East and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and lead for the East of England Ambulance Consortium said that the standards were applied to ensure that services provided high quality, safe and effective care and delivered the best possible outcomes for patients.

She said: “We continue to work with the East of England Ambulance Service in transforming the service where it has failed to meet performance standards.

“This work has included an additional £9.5m investment from the CCGs over and above the contract price in order to support EEAST in their transformation programme.

“Mandatory financial consequence to date are £1.5m and a proportion of this will be applied at the end of the year. They will continue to incur financial consequences if performance standards are not met.

“The Commissioning Consortium will continue to work with and monitor EEAST to address areas of underperformance and ensure those improvements are made to ensure our population receives the best possible care.”

Earlier this week it was revealed that Anthony Marsh, chief executive of both the East of England and West Midlands ambulance, submitted claims worth up to £188 a night for luxury overnight accommodation.

The news came weeks after his £232,000 salary was condemned as “obscene” by health minister and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter.

Mr Marsh, who took on the part-time role in January, works three days a week for the service and two days a week for the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Figures unveiled under Freedom of Information laws showed that Mr Marsh’s hotel bill was £4,839.72 from January 1 to August 20 this year.

An ambulance service spokesman said: “We are working hard to turnaround the ambulance service, such as recruiting hundreds of new frontline staff, bringing in new emergency ambulances, upskilling our staff and on target to have identified £10 million of savings in back office functions and management - money which will be reinvested in more frontline staff. All of these actions are helping us to improve our service to patients.

“We are really pleased with the support from our clinical commissioning groups, especially in the significant investment they have put into the ambulance service this year to enable us to make some of these changes.

“Obviously, as we get closer to the end of the year we will be working closely with commissioners to discuss the impact of any fines and how these might be managed.”

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5 comments

  • From someone whose life was saved by paramedics after suffering a heart attack, I find this fine absolutely appalling. Have the people who make these decisions ever tried to get across Ipswich in 8 minutes? Road works, traffic congestion due to traffic lights and drivers stopping in yellow box junctions all add to an ambulance drivers frustration. It's time these people were given more praise for the lives they save. Let's put the big wigs who make these decisions behind the wheel of an ambulance and see how they cope! Keep up the good work you guys and gals who do such a great job saving lives.

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    Tractorboy49

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Surely the £1.5m would be better spent on another ambulance station, thereby cutting response times?

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • I am thinking of submitting a freedom of information upon Archant to find out how many freedom of information requests they have made and the cost of them all. Nearly every article seems to originate from one. The old fashioned journalists used to get out the office, walk the streets, get cold and wet to find and cover stories. Now it seems to be an office job, sending out yet another freedom of information request.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Irene you are absolutely right and probably reflect the views of many of us who were amazed and dismayed at this fine.

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    DALINE

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • What will imposing this massive fine achieve? More cuts due to lack of funds!! Absolutely ridiculous, no wonder our NHS is in such disarray. Too many chiefs and far too few Indians trying to keep their heads above water to keep us all healthy. It's about time someone on high got a grip on some common sense.

    Report this comment

    Irene Wragg

    Friday, August 29, 2014

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

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