East Anglia: Chairman pledges to make trust ‘the best’

East of England Ambulance Trust

East of England Ambulance Trust - Credit: Archant Norfolk

THE chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service has pledged to make the trust the best in the country, despite a critical report from the health regulator.

Suffolk and Norfolk MPs had called on members of the board to consider their positions this week after the Care Quality Commission told the NHS trust to improve after an unannounced inspection.

But chairman Maria Ball has come out fighting by pledging to turn things around and revealed that Andrew Morgan had accepted a 12-month contract to continue as interim chief executive.

In an email sent to all East of England Ambulance Service staff, Ms Ball said the trust had also been offered help from Will Hancock, chief executive of the South Central Ambulance Service, in addition to the review being carried out by Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

In a joint statement with Mr Morgan, the pair said they were listening to staff, putting more resources on the road and the service needed to change over the next 12 months.

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“We have both been very honest with everyone we have spoken to that this won’t be finished in a day, but it has already started. We both feel that complete transformation is likely to take a couple of years, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be waiting that long to see positive changes,” they said.

Ms Ball has been the chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service since 2006.

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A report by the CQC found that performance had deteriorated over the last 12 months and had failed in the care and welfare of people that use its services because of slow responses.

The email from the chairman and chief executive to staff added: “You will also see a more direct approach from the board and the trust as a whole in publicly expressing the unacceptable issue of worsening delays at hospitals across our region.

“It is a journey ahead of us, not a sprint. You will see some immediate changes and some will take longer, but it should start to feel different quickly. We are aiming to be the best ambulance trust again – it may take a few years but we are determined, and we can’t do it without all of you. We are very sorry it has been such a difficult time for you all.”

Mr Morgan will set out plans next week on how he intends to address poor performance in 2013/14 after it emerged that response times across the NHS trust fell further last month.

The ambulance service is meant to attend 75pc of the most life-threatening 999 calls (A8) within eight minutes. However, the trust has failed to hit that target since October. The service has been unable to meet the A8 target for the last 11 months in Norfolk and Suffolk with crews only able to reach 62.2pc of A8 calls in eight minutes during February and 67pc in Suffolk last month.

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