An ambulance chief has hit back at the concerns of politicians and town councils in north Norfolk over “cuts” to services.

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North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, and the town councils at North Walsham and Cromer, have this week aired fears that ongoing changes will harm patient care, while the local Labour party is set to crank up a petition against the moves.

But the East of England Ambulance Service chief executive Hayden Newton - who has been written to by the MP seeking answers and the councils seeking a meeting and change of heart - has responded to “clarify the situation”.

Mr Lamb was worried about 150 vacancies being scrapped, and reductions of ambulance numbers from two to one at Cromer and one to none at North Walsham.

But Mr Newton said: “Ambulances are not being cut overall but matched to where demand lies.”

The figures quoted were inaccurate. Cromer would go from having two full-time ambulances to one full-time and one part-time to cover periods warranted by local need.

North Walsham would have a rapid response vehicle instead of an ambulance to meet patient needs, demonstrated by a review that showed less than half of patients needed to go to hospital and could be treated at the scene.

New control room clinical support desks were also taking 900 minor calls a week and redirecting them to more appropriate means, freeing up emergency ambulances to go to genuine emergencies.

It was “paving the way for the rota review and revisions which, using sophisticated modelling technology, tell us where and when vehicles are needed and what type,” said Mr Newton who vowed to give Mr Lamb a full response.

He said he had told the MP the 150 vacant lines across the trust had removed because of the changes. It was recruiting 140 new emergency care assistants, and now had around 1,500 paramedics, compared to 950 in 2007.

He said: “We face the challenge of saving £50m over five years as our part of cost savings. With 900 calls a week no longer being sent an ambulance unnecessarily, the most intelligent review ever undertaken of the service demonstrates that, by matching resources to demand while more effectively ringfencing crews to local areas – so those areas are actually better covered than at present when they are routinely sent elsewhere – we can find a way forward while maintaining patient care, building on improved response times and keeping frontline staff at nearly double the number five years ago.”

Meanwhile North Norfolk Labour party, which already has an online petition - www.actonambulances.co.uk - calling for more ambulance resource in the area, will be campaigning in Cromer on Saturday August 11 from 10.45am.

10 comments

  • this is a cover up to pretend the response time issue doesnt exist . by using rapid response vehicles they have nowhere near the equipment but will be there quicker so the government can pretend everything is ok .

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    Double Bill

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Not exactly true is it Mr Newton! 1. The clinical support desk you mentioned deals with 900 call a week over 6 counties. That is under 2 per hour for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge. 2. If cars are so important, why have you cut over 100 hours per week in Norwich? 3. We all know that the ambulances in the Norfolk region work predomently in Norwich, the buisest area.You have cut over 60 hours a week in Norwich alone. They rely on Diss, Cromer and North Walsham to provide transportable resources. 4. In this area, you have cut 2 times 24 hour vehicles, 60 hours from Norwich and the majority of time from the Cromer ambulance.You have reduced the car cover in Norwich my over 10 hours a day and you intend to employ non clinicians to drive 2 extra vehicles 10 hours a day. My 5 year old can do better sums than you! 5. We have already read in the regional news papers that Paramendics are currently waiting over 2 hours for a suitable transport for critically sick patients. People have already died as a result. 6. My advise, Mr Newton is to sack one of your directors and pay for Mr Alister Campbell. At least he can "Spin" a better story.

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    smiffy

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

  • Mr Lamb is concerned? His party have consistently backed all Tory cutbacks. The Tories cannot function without the consent of the LIbDems. Stop the NHS decimation MR Lamb. You have the power to be more than just "concerned ".

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    norman hall

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • so we can no longer cover this golden hour?? as for this stupid 8 minute rule that is absolutley ridiculous my parents live in a small village if an ambulance made it to thier home in 8 minutes it would be the air ambulance and only then it would be because it was in the area. i would perhaps suggest they build massive multi storey housing next to hospitals so if we were taken poorly we could go and collect a bed and wheel our own relations to A&E.

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • mr newton believes we are going to be better off because of £ 50 m cuts then ? did he not also believe response times in north norfolk were acceptable ?

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Mr Newton said: “Ambulances are not being cut overall but matched to where demand lies.” No cuts!!! so why are North Norfolk Labour party wasting their time.

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    Labour spokesperson

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Cuts, they must be joking, they need more ambulances not less, my wife was taken ill at work on June 19th,2012. she works at Tescos's in Norwich, and at 11am she was taken a 999 call was made an the ambulance control said that there were no ambulances available and could not give a time when one would become available, by 1.30pm some two and a half hours later no ambulance had arrived, despite follow up calls to the ambulance service, she lay in Tesco's for all that time, disgusting, we made a formal complaint the same day, and was told we would get a response within 28 days, it is now 44 days later and we still have had no response, absolutely useless..

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Ambulances will be"matched to where demand lies", will they? How do these people know whether someone in Wighton or Wells or Cromer will fall ill, with what and what urgency, and when? I suppose they think that some dratted computer will them, but I can assure them that it won't. Only God knows that for sure, and these people, as well as "playing God", now think they are Him. Another disgrace.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • ....by 1.30pm some two and a half hours later no ambulance had arrived.....What happened some three and a half hours later, still no ambulance?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

  • These towns are going to lose their double staffed ambulances and replaced by rapid response vehicles. If they need that emergency care to go to hospital there will be less ambulances and less based locally. That is worrying.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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