Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Ambulance service hit by funding withdrawal over missed targets

18:49 09 January 2014



Archant 2013

An MP who has heard “four years of empty promises” from the region’s ambulance service believes a financial penalty is the only way to make it deliver on its pledges.


Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has spoken out after the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) was dealt a blow after having funding withheld for failing to meet response time targets across a year.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) announced it was withholding 2% of its funding from EEAST after it fell short of national standards - and will not be paid in full until it meets them.

MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk Dr Poulter said there must be consequences for the service’s under-performance.

“We have had four years of empty promises about more investment, additional frontline staff and ambulances but this has not been delivered,” he added.

“Financial incentives or penalties are quite often the way to change behaviour in the health service and there’s good evidence that they do drive a behavioural change.

“The penalties are part of a range of measures to ensure the ambulance service faces up to its responsibilities in more rural parts of the region.”

The withdrawal comes after a report last year found EEAST failed to meet its target of reaching 95% of Category A patients - those in life-threatening situations - within 19 minutes, and a clinical capacity review found the service was performing poorly in many areas.

A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG spokesman said the 2% withdrawal is a sanction written into the national NHS contract.

“Unfortunately the East of England Ambulance Service Trust has fallen short of these standards and this consequence must be applied,” he added.

“NHS Commissioners are working closely with ambulance trust executives to ensure that the issues that are causing the deterioration in response times are addressed and, where necessary, reinvest these resources to improve care.”

Wendy Tankard, chief contracts officer for Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk CCGs and lead for the EEAST Commissioning Consortium, said financial penalties are used to ensure patients receive the right care.

“Commissioners support the ambulance trust in reaching these standards and only as a last resort are financial consequences applied,” she added.

“The Commissioning Consortium will continue to work with and monitor EEAST to address areas of under-performance and ensure those improvements are made throughout what is a challenging and transformational programme for the ambulance trust.”

It is understood Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is the only body to have withheld funding.

Dr Anthony Marsh, who was appointed EEAST’s chief executive on January 1, said: “One of my immediate priorities will be to increase frontline staffing on ambulances.

“We will go about this by recruiting student paramedics, qualified paramedics and technicians and graduate paramedics.

“Recruiting the staff we need is going to take time, but we have got to start the process as quickly as possible.”



  • I am not sure why the NHS cannot simply be money per capita. Each region is allocated a budget which is then spread amongst different NHS services (hospitals, ambulance services etc.). The whole borrow-money-then-get-reimbursed-by-targets system doesn't seem to work. The easiest way to ensure targets are met isn't fining or sanctioning the services but simply pay everyone in the NHS either minimum wage or a basic salary and give them both bonuses for meeting targets. If they miss their targets within their ward or department then they will suffer the financial consequences. Basically its like sanctioning the staff. So many great people in the NHS who will constantly feel awarded financially and with job satisfaction boosting morale... the small percentage of liabilities in the NHS, lazy or incompetent, will be either forced out the door or will improve to increase their earnings due to increased cost of living.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

  • Only this coalition govt could come up with a hair-brained idea to remove funding from an Ambulance service which cannot meet its targets because of a lack of funding. When people die in remote rural areas do politicians in Westminster lose any sleep or are they happy in their beds that they are 'balancing the books'.

    Report this comment


    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • You know our Dan what Dave Cameron says dan jumps to

    Report this comment


    Saturday, January 11, 2014

  • I bet the 'suits' won't be affected.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, January 11, 2014

  • Is this the same Dan Poulter whose party inflicted budget cuts on the ambulance service which has left it in this appalling state? I wonder which way he voted on the matter.

    Report this comment


    Friday, January 10, 2014

  • With all the armed services cuts and enforced redundancies, there must be some fully trained and experienced medics looking for a new career in civvy street who would make excellent paramedics.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

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

Call for tightening of UK border controls

Suffolk’s “horrified” Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has demanded EU border control reforms after a convicted paedophile banned from the UK was jailed again for returning to work with teenagers.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A Suffolk police officer whose enquiries led to the discovery of more than 400 firearms - one of the biggest weapon finds the UK has ever seen - is set to be recognised.

Bury Magistrates' Court

Shutting Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court will have a “shocking” impact on access to justice in west Suffolk, leaving public transport journeys 245% more expensive on average.

The dog walking group.

The woman in the playing field looks respectable enough. “Expensive-looking hair”, I think; “pricey jacket”. Her dog is big and rangy. He gambols around her feet, before bounding several feet away and squatting, writes Matt Gaw.

Bridge Farm Day Nursery in Martlesham is celebrating an ‘outstanding’ grade in its most recent Ofsted inspection

A day nursery is celebrating being given an outstanding grade by Ofsted at its most recent inspection.

Pupils and staff at Thomas Wolsey School on the site of the teepee that was vandalised.

The headteacher of a special school in Ipswich left devastated after a much-loved teepee was destroyed in a fire has thanked the community for its fundraising help.

Pair claimed a neighbour in Wellington Street, Ipswich had a gun

A couple who sparked a full-scale armed police response over gun claims must pay £1,000 compensation to Suffolk Constabulary.

Framlingham from above. Aerial photo by Mike Page.

A revised housing bid from Persimmon Homes for a site off Mount Pleasant in Framlingham has again been recommended for approval.

Prime Minister David Cameron in his hotel room as he prepares his conference speech that he will deliver to his party's annual conference at Manchester Central tomorrow. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime minister David Cameron will label his tenure the “turnaround decade” when he addresses his party faithful today.

Joe Underwood outside the new wildlife education hut in Christchurch Park.

A new outdoor learning space in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park is set to improve knowledge of Suffolk’s wildlife.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages