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Suffolk: Ambulance service is failing staff, says MP

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 May 2012

Dr Dan Poulter is calling for action from the East of England Ambulance Service

Dr Dan Poulter is calling for action from the East of England Ambulance Service

Archant

A SUFFOLK MP has made fresh calls for action by the region’s ambulance service after fewer than one in 20 surveyed paramedics reported good communication between management and staff.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, reacted to results of an NHS staff survey carried out for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) showing worse performance than other trusts in a number of areas, including management support, team-work and job satisfaction.

His response echoes previous calls for action by bosses to support frontline paramedics after recent figures showed that ambulances arrived late to nearly half of all immediately life-threatening emergencies in some parts of rural Suffolk.

The survey showed that while 64% of managers reported good communication between senior management and staff, just 4% of paramedics responded similarly.

Dr Poulter said: “Instead of making improvements, these survey responses show that the trust is in fact going backwards when it comes to staff engagement.

“Nobody understands their service better than the hard-working frontline staff, who do an excellent job providing life-saving treatment to people on a daily basis.

“It was particularly disappointing to learn that staff motivation at work was below the average when compared with other trusts, whilst the survey response also reveals a disparity between the experiences of managers and frontline paramedics.

“I shall continue to closely monitor the ambulance service management, and will work to ensure that both staff and patients begin to receive the support they deserve.”

Paramedics accounted for a third (the largest group) of respondents to the survey, with 167 returned questionnaires to general management’s much smaller total of 11.

Most respondents had been employed by the service for six to ten years, with nearly a quarter working for more than 15 years.

EEAS staff recorded the lowest scores of the trust’s surveyed nationally for ‘flexible working options’, opportunities to develop their potential’ and, perhaps most alarmingly, ‘recommendation as a place to work or receive treatment’.

However, improvements have been made elsewhere since the last annual survey, with a marked improvement in delivering staff appraisals but a subsequent increase in reports of violence and harassment from the public.

The trust refuted Dr Poulter’s claim that it going backwards, arguing results had not considerably changed from last year and that it performed better than other ambulance services in some areas.

A spokeswoman said survey results were being used to identify and act upon areas for improvement, such as staff motivation, which she added “is close to the national average for ambulance services and is obviously affected by the general economic situation within the NHS”.

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