Suffolk: One part of rescue package approved for under-fire ambulance trust

East of England Ambulance Service Trust

East of England Ambulance Service Trust - Credit: Archant

One strand of a rescue package to improve standards at the region’s under-fire ambulance service has been approved.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, met yesterday where the governing body approved plans to contribute £981,000 towards the £15million being funded by all 19 CCGs in the east of England.

The NHS West Suffolk CCG governing body is due to meet today to discuss its £570,000 share.

The funding being sought to overhaul the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) will be spent on education, redundancies and updating medical equipment.

Wendy Tankard, chief contracts officer for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and NHS West Suffolk CCG, said: “The transformation business case for the East of England Ambulance Service was approved by governing body members at yesterday’s meeting of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, subject to agreeing a revised performance improvement plan with EEAST. The business case has yet to be approved by the other 18 members of the ambulance commissioning consortium.”


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It comes after the trust unveiled new measures designed to address serious failings after a risk summit ordered by NHS England in February.

The trust’s new chief executive, Dr Anthony Marsh, set out plans to recruit 400 student paramedics in 2014/15, reduce the reliance on response cars, improve the fleet and equipment replacement programme and reinvest back-office funding in to front-line delivery.

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Of the £14.96m needed for 2014/15, some £8.8m will be spent on education and development, £3.1m to update medical equipment – including £384,000 on equipment provision for bariatric and complex patients – while £3m will fund redundancies.

The latest Care Quality Commission report found the trust failed to attend at least 75% of the most urgent 999 calls within eight minutes in 2012/13 despite “significant improvements”. However, the trust’s latest figures show the average response time for life-threatening calls was 19 minutes in March, compared to 28 minutes in January. The figure for serious calls was cut to 16 minutes from 25.

Speaking earlier this week, Dr Marsh said some patients have had to wait far too long for an ambulance.

“There are not enough paramedics and ambulances, which is why we are increasing ambulance cover and recruiting hundreds of student paramedics,” he added. “We have listened to what our staff and the public have told us and the changes we are making will better support our staff to deliver a better service to patients.”

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