Update: Suffolk MP Therese Coffey welcomes chairman of the ambulance trust stepping down one week after damning CQC report
THE chairman of the region’s failing ambulance service has resigned with immediate effect.
Maria Ball has stepped down and will be replaced by vice chairman Paul Remington while the process of appointing a new or interim chairman gets underway.
The move comes a week after a damning report raised concerns over patient care.
The Care Quality Commission observed, during an unannounced visit to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), “a significant inequality of service between rural and urban areas”, noting the trust “regularly failed to meet them (response times) in Norfolk and Suffolk”.
The report stated: “The trust’s performance in relation to its ambulance response times had deteriorated and people could not be assured they would receive care in a timely and effective manner.”
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Mr Remington said: “Maria has spent many years leading the ambulance service and I would like to thank her for her dedication and commitment through what have been some challenging times.
“Maria oversaw the formation of this trust, bringing together three disparate organisations into one service, and its subsequent development.
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“We now must concentrate on looking forward and focusing solely on how we improve our service to patients and better support our staff.
“To that end we are developing a transformational plan, details of which will be published next week.
“This will involve recruiting many more front line staff, better managing sickness absence, clearer career pathways and a renewed focus on patient handover delays.”
Suffolk Coastal M, Therese Coffey welcomed the move after calling on board members to rethink their positions last week.
She said: “I welcome her decision and thank her for her 6 years of service.
“It is the right decision for her to step aside and is the next step to turning the performance of the service around.”