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Suffolk Coastal: MP Therese Coffey criticises Care Quality Commission for cancelling ambulance meeting

PUBLISHED: 12:55 06 June 2013 | UPDATED: 12:55 06 June 2013

Therese Coffey MP.

Therese Coffey MP.

Archant

An MP has criticised a health watchdog for pulling out of a meeting arranged to address concerns about the region’s ambulance service.

Suffolk Coastal’s Therese Coffey said she was very disappointed with the decision of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The independent regulator was due to meet a group of MPs yesterday to discuss its assessment of the East of England Ambulance Trust’s action plan, which sets out a blueprint for improvements.

But the CQC decided to cancel the get-together, saying they preferred to wait until a relevant report had been published.

Dr Coffey said: “MPs are very disappointed that the CQC decided to pull out of this meeting, which had already been postponed from last month.

“We will be having a further meeting with the health minister in the next fortnight but hearing the independent view of the regulator would have been very useful.

“At this challenging time, it is more important than ever that candid conversations and observations can be shared.

“Greater transparency is very important in building trust that standards are improving.”

Other MPs set to attend the meeting included Witham’s Priti Patel and North East Cambridgeshire’s Steve Barclay.

Ms Patel said: “Serious concerns remain over the way this trust is being managed and led and instead of snubbing my constituents the CQC should be engaging with us.”

A CQC spokesman said it had a “good track record” of sharing information with local MPs about the issue, and would continue to do so.

She said: “We last met MPs on February 11 and felt the next meeting, scheduled for June 5, should include the Trust Development Agency (TDA) to ensure MPs hear from both organisations with relevant responsibilities.

“Since then the TDA, which oversees the way the trust operates, has commissioned a review of the East of England Ambulance Trust.

“As this report will not be ready in time for the meeting in June, we felt it would be more helpful to delay the meeting until the findings are available.

“CQC representatives will join a rescheduled meeting with parliamentarians when the report is due to be published.”

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which has appointed a new chief executive and chairman in recent months, was not asked to send a representative to the meeting and a trust spokesman declined to comment.

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