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Suffolk/Essex: MPs call for ambulance service board members to resign after damning report

PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 June 2013

Archant

Five board members at the region’s under-fire ambulance service were last night called to resign by two of the region’s Tory MPs.

In letters to the non-executive directors at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), Witham MP Priti Patel and MP for Suffolk Coastal, Therese Coffey, claimed they were letting the public down and should resign from their roles.

Their call comes a week after a damning review, led by the chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service, Anthony Marsh, said the leadership had developed a “sense of helplessness” and that “there is a lack of focus and grip from the board which has contributed towards the deterioration of performance”.

Ms Patel said: “It’s time for the board to be refreshed and it is disgraceful that these individuals are refusing to do the decent thing and resign.

“It is shameful that they continue to be paid from public funds and scandalous that they have yet to be dismissed.”

The letters, which were sent to vice chairman Paul Remington and board members Caroline Bailes, Phil Barlow, Anne Osborn and Margaret Stockham, also follow a Care Quality Commission report, which heavily criticised the service’s response times.

Dr Coffey said that she was surprised none of the five members had offered their resignations after she read last week’s report.

She added: “The report is a damning indictment of the poor level of governance that has been going on in the trust for some time.

“Whilst frontline staff are doing their best, this deterioration has not just happened overnight.”

EEAST chairman, Dr Geoff Harris, said the process of the board’s membership is already under way and two members, Caroline Bailes and Paul Remington, will leave the trust when their terms end.

He added: “One of my first priorities as chairman is to review the capability and capacity of board leadership at the trust.

“This review must be undertaken in a measured way, based on a proper skills audit of board members to establish the leadership needed to run the trust effectively, as well as skills needed to run services sustainably in the future.

“The board will be reconstituted following appropriate review of its membership.”

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