Suffolk: More ambulance crews on the roads as trust is told to “get a grip” on delays

More ambulances are comign to the region to hep meet targets

More ambulances are comign to the region to hep meet targets - Credit: Archant

AMBULANCE resources in Suffolk are set to be bolstered with extra vehicles on the roads after the trust came under fire for delays affecting emergency responses to patients.

MPs were this week briefed in Westminster by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, who are said to have spoken to whistleblowers and patients during their announced inspection of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

The CQC is expected to publish their report on the inspection, which examined delays in rural response times and turnaround times at hospitals, in early March.

Yesterday interim chief executive Andrew Morgan revealed the trust is introducing 15 more double-manned ambulances next Monday to help in key locations across the county, including Felixstowe, Beccles, Diss, Mildenhall Saxmundham and Sudbury.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who arranged Monday’s meeting, said: “This is not about criticising frontline staff or accusing the leadership of not doing their best for patients, but it is important we get to the bottom of the issues.

“The number of MPs that attended the meeting shows that it is a matter of huge concern and the trust needs to get a grip of performance.”

Mr Morgan told The EADT they decided to take “immediate action” rather than wait for other plans, including a recruitment drive and improvements to rotas to yield results.

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He said: “After reviewing the situation and listening to patient and staff feedback it became clear that getting more double-staffed ambulances out there was a priority that would directly benefit patients and reduce waiting times.”

The extra ambulances come on top of existing plans for new, more effective rotas and improvement measures which include a recruitment drive for 75 new paramedics and 124 emergency care assistants bringing the total number of frontline staff to nearly double over seven years.

Mr Morgan told The EADT: “After reviewing the situation and listening to patient and staff feedback it became clear that getting more double staffed ambulances out there was a priority that would directly benefit patients and reduce waiting times.

“I have had many discussions about the resources we have available and we are tackling the situation in many ways by recruiting more staff, trying to better match staff availability to demand, giving more power to local managers to deliver the right service for their area, working with hospitals to reduce turnaround times and addressing productivity, efficiency and sickness issues.

“All of this work will continue and must deliver results.

“However I am clear that we do not currently have enough DSAs out on the road. We cannot wait for all this other work to come to fruition before we address this shortfall which is why we have taken immediate action.

“We will be working with staff on crewing the vehicles while we get our new frontline paramedics and ECAs on board as quickly as possible.”

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