Recruitment of new ambulance service chief executive to begin soon – but officials suggest the process could take a while to complete

East of England Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams

East of England Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams

Bosses at the region’s ambulance service have suggested the recruitment of a new chief executive should begin soon, but the process could take many months to complete.

Anthony Marsh was appointed to the position at the beginning of January last year. It is a role he shares with his work at the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

But with his two-year secondment in East Anglia due to finish at the end of this year, trust officials are keen to make a permanent appointment.

In a report to the trust board, which will meet on Thursday, chairman Sarah Boulton wrote: “I am conscious that, over several months in 2013, there were two failed attempts to substantively recruit.

“We therefore need to give ourselves the best possible chance of success and start the process well before the end of the year so that we are not rushed.

“In the meantime, of course, Anthony stays in place and he continues to show huge commitment to the East of England and is bringing significant improvement and success.”

An ambulance service spokesman added: “Following two previous unsuccessful attempts to recruit a chief executive, the board has always been clear that it will plan a new recruitment programme in 2015 and this remains the case.

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“In the meantime, Anthony will continue as chief executive and continue to drive through service improvements.”

Dr Marsh came into the trust at a time when it was coming under increasing pressure for its performance.

He was brought in to “accelerate improvements” at the service.

Since then, there has been a programme set up to train up student paramedics, while there has also been a reduction in complaints and an improvement in the service performance.

However, there are still challenges facing the trust.

Figures revealed by this newspaper earlier in the month showed that the service is still struggling to reach the Government target of responding to 75% of top-level emergency calls, classified as red 1 and red 2, within eight minutes.

Ambulance officials said response times in Suffolk were not where they wanted them to be, but added that Dr Marsh stated when he started it would take two years to create the performance recovery that was needed at the trust. The trust board will meet in Stevenage on Thursday.