Suffolk: More powers for ambulance chiefs backed by MP Therese Coffey

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has backed calls for regional ambulance bosses to have greater aut

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has backed calls for regional ambulance bosses to have greater autonomy. - Credit: Archant

SUFFOLK Coastal MP Therese Coffey has welcomed proposed changes to the way ambulance managers operate – insisting they will have greater autonomy and accountability – amid criticism over. response times.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has come under pressure in recent months after it was revealed performance targets had not been met.

Over 10 months from April 2012 to January 2013, it failed to meet its target of responding to 95% of calls within 19 minutes and 75% of calls within eight minutes in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The failure led to the health regulator – the Care Quality Commission – finding the service non-compliant when it comes to the care and welfare of patients when it made an unannounced inspection of its Cambourne headquarters, near Cambridge, in January.

But Dr Coffey, who met the EEAS chairman and interim chief executive on Tuesday, said: “They are implementing a new staffing structure with local managers to have greater autonomy in Suffolk and Norfolk.

“I welcome this change. It seems to have always been a ‘seek permission’ system, but managers will be able to work closer with their teams with more accountability.”

Currently the EEAS’s emergency service, which covers six counties, is split into four areas – each managed by a general manager and assistant general manager – with one area for Norfolk and Suffolk.

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Dr Coffey added: “It will be less of a ‘one size fits all’ structure with more flexibility. It is a more local approach which makes a lot sense to me.

“Improving response times is a main priority and this shows action is being taken.”

The Care Quality Commission is due to publish its report on the inspection, which examined delays in rural response times and turnaround times at hospitals, later this month.

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