Ambulance Watch: MPs add to calls for improvements

PUBLISHED: 07:37 11 October 2012

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Norfolk and Suffolk MPs are joining the EDP’s calls for improvements to the service provided by the East of England Ambulance Service.

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has backed our Ambulance Watch campaign, describing it as a “welcome intervention in a debate that has been rumbling on behind the scenes for many months”.

He said: “Any problems in the service emanate from poor management or organisational issues within the ambulance trust.

“I hear nothing but praise for our dedicated, hard-working and highly professional ambulance crews. They deserve our support in making sure the ambulance trust change procedures, so that the crews can continue to deliver their expert emergency care. We can show them that support by taking part in the EDP’s Ambulance Watch Survey.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous has also written to Dr Pamela Crispin, deputy chief executive and medical director of the service, saying that in the past two months the number of complaints he has received concerning the service has increased significantly.

These primarily relate to response times and predominately involve elderly people, whose friends and relations are understandably concerned about the time that it has taken for an ambulance to arrive.

Specific examples include:

An elderly lady who suffered a stroke. A paramedic arrived within 10 to 15 minutes, though the ambulance which was called did not arrive for another 105 minutes.

A gentleman who fell off his bike in Lowestoft and it took 90 minutes for an ambulance, sent from Ipswich, to arrive at the scene.

A 90-year-old disabled gentleman who had a fall at home when going to bed. His 84-year-old wife was unable to help him up and she telephoned for an ambulance which took four-and-a-half hours to arrive.

Mr Aldous has also been contacted by local ambulance staff who have expressed their concerns about the proposed changes to work rotas and believe that changes could lead to a poorer service with slower response times.

He said: “Ambulance services are one of the most important in our community and it is unacceptable for those who need urgent assistance or who are the victims of accidents to experience long waits for an ambulance to attend a serious incident. I am working closely with the ambulance service and Waveney constituents to ensure that the service is improved in those areas where there are problems.”

Mr Aldous said he had received assurances the service is looking to recruit more paramedics and emergency care assistants to work at the Waveney depot and that resources will be invested in the training of first responders to help improve cover in rural areas.

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