Ambulance service’s best month in Suffolk for a year will boost staff morale

The EEAST emergency operations centre

The EEAST emergency operations centre - Credit: Archant

Health minister Dan Poulter has praised the leadership and investment at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust service after it recorded some of its best figures in Suffolk for months.

Monthly statistics showing how well the service responds to the most serious calls reveal improvements for both the West Suffolk, and Ipswich and East Suffolk areas.

These calls, known as Red 1, are to the most serious, potentially life-threatening incidents where EEAST is supposed to get someone to the scene in eight minutes or less.

The target for all ambulance services is to have a 75% success rate for attending Red 1 calls in that time limit – and in March West Suffolk managed to beat that (77%) for only the second time in the last 12 months.

While this wasn’t managed in Ipswich and East Suffolk the service here did get to 70% of Red 1 calls in eight minutes, its best figures of the last financial year.

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Dr Poulter, a junior health minister, said the news was “very encouraging” and that investment in the service was starting to make a difference.

“I know that investment is helping lift morale amongst ambulance workers as well as providing a better service to patients in Suffolk,” he said.

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“I am encouraged by what I have heard and very pleased that investment is supporting the many ambulance staff who have worked for many years to deliver better care.”

Dr Poulter also said it was good the improvements came at the end of the winter period, traditionally a busy time for the ambulance service.

He added the “good leadership, the right leadership” and “the investment in additional staff on the ground” was a sign the ambulance service was recovering from previous poor performances and could now go from strength to strength.

Matt Broad, EEAST locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, said: “Our improved performance in Suffolk is down to the continued hard work of our front-line staff and the result of a major recruitment drive and changes made over the last year to improve responses and patient care.

“An extra 55 student paramedics are now working in Suffolk and extra 24/7 double staffed ambulance shifts have also been added to the Saxmundham, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Thetford areas.

“We know we have more work to do to improve performance, which is why we are looking to hire another 400 student paramedics this year.”

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