Suffolk: MP Therese Coffey urges Government to intervene over ‘poor’ ambulance performance

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has asked the Government to intervene following concerns over the

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has asked the Government to intervene following concerns over the region's ambulance service - Credit: Archant

SUFFOLK Coastal MP Therese Coffey has asked the Government to intervene in a bid to improve the performance of the region’s ambulance service.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday she highlighted the difficulties being experienced by many people living in the county. Dr Coffey said: “Patients in Suffolk are very worried about the performance of the ambulance service. In the last two months fewer than 60% of ambulances have hit the target in reaching emergency cases.”

She reiterated that all of the MPs in the East of England were concerned and urged the Government to intervene.

Anna Soubry, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, replied that the fears were known at the highest level and that Earl Howe, who has overall responsibility for ambulance services, had agreed to meet with MPs on March 18.

Dr Coffey added: “I will continue to highlight the poor service that people in Suffolk endure. While I am pleased that more ambulances are now available, focus needs to be maintained on response times.

“The report from the Care Quality Commission’s snap inspection is due to be published next month which will shed more light on performance.”

On Monday the East Anglian Daily Times revealed the ambulance service failed to hit response time targets in Suffolk for every month of the last financial year. The failings account for both eight-minute and 19-minute targets for responding to category A patients - those in an immediately life-threatening condition. Not once in 10 months did the service meet its target of responding to 95% of calls within 19 minutes or 75% of calls within eight minutes.

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The report, compiled by the ambulance trust’s director of strategy and business development, Adrian Matthews, and due to be discussed by the board today, said that the number of complaints received in the East of England remained high, with the majority concerning response time. However, it noted that written compliments still outnumbered complaints.

Meanwhile it also noted performance is expected to improve in line with the easing of winter weather conditions, an inspected rise in staff morale and improved levels of sickness.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “Our trust recognises the need to improve its performance against time targets and is implementing a number of measures to do so, including 200 new frontline recruits, 15 extra ambulances which will be crewed by existing staff on overtime as much as possible until we get our new staff on board, better working with hospitals to tackle handover delays, more effective rotas and special cars in specific areas to treat patients at home when they may not need to go to hospital.”

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