Health minister Norman Lamb said he feared lives were being put at risk after receiving figures showing the time it took the East of England Ambulance Service to take Norfolk stroke victims to hospital.

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For most of this year, fewer than a quarter of Norfolk stroke patients arrived at hospital within the guideline 60 minutes and the situation was even worse in north Norfolk where he is the MP.

Earlier this year, the EDP launched its Ambulance Watch campaign in response to growing public concern about the performance of the ambulance service.

The figures for stroke patients were provided to Mr Lamb following a Freedom of Information Act request by a third party. In the best month in north Norfolk, May, the ambulance trust managed to transport 7pc of patients within the critical period. Last month the figure was just 2pc.

For Norfolk as a whole this year the number of stroke patients arriving at hospital within 60 minutes were: January 23pc; February 24pc; March 24pc; April 28pc; May 20pc; June 25pc; July 23pc; August 22pc; September 21pc; October 21pc.

Mr Lamb said: “These figures are completely unacceptable for the whole of Norfolk. My fear is that people’s lives are being put at risk as a result of not getting to specialist units quickly enough.”

An ambulance trust spokesman said stroke care was one of its “quality priorities”, overseen by a dedicated member of staff who was investigating all cases where the trust’s targets were not met.

Mr Lamb said: “We know that if you get patients to a specialist unit within an hour you can make a massive difference in terms of both saving lives and making sure people don’t suffer permanent disability.”

The figures cover a period from November 2010 to last month. They show that between those dates the trust’s best performance in Norfolk was in February 2011 when 38pc of stroke patients were transported within 60 minutes. The worst month was this May which saw only 20pc taken to hospital within the target.

Figures for all the trust as a whole range from 58pc in February 2011 to 40pc last month. The trust also covers Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Mr Lamb warned against reading too much into the north Norfolk figures as these could have been based on a small total of patients.

He said setting a single target and applying it across the whole of the trust’s “monster” region was a major factor behind the problem.

It would be better if targets were set across each county and, in his capacity as a local MP, Mr Lamb said he had raised the issue with the Department of Health.

He is due to meet ambulance, hospital and primary care trust chiefs to discuss Project Domino, a multi-service review of the urgent care system in Norfolk.

“It isn’t a case of one organisation being able to solve this,” he added.

The trust spokesman said they aimed to increase the percentage of face-to-face assessed stroke patients, potentially eligible for stroke thrombolysis, who arrived at a specialist stroke centre within 60 minutes of a call.

“A dedicated stroke lead is overseeing this priority and conducting ongoing investigations in all cases of non-compliance.”

14 comments

  • Mr Lamb once threatened resignation over the state of the NHS. Now he is a Health Minister. How the wind changes. But he and his party the ToryLibs have voted through all the cutbacks and changes the Tories have wanted. Having the ability and power to stop the Tory plans , it is strange to hear him complaining about the results of the Tory NHS. His own department.

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    norman hall

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • speaking as a pre2010 stroke patient i had no problems getting to hospital within 60 minutes it was the four hour time limit given in A&E that caused the problem!!!!

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • who can believe a thing this man says? he is willfully blind to what he is doing to the NHS.

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    nhs lover

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Its called "East Of England Ambulance Service" but thats a lie because they are not providing a Service.. its a gamble if and when you will get an ambulance when one is called, and why should the Ambulance "Service" gamble with peoples lives... Ambulance Service disgusting !!!! Useless...

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    Footyboy16

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • iI still want an apology from him for voting for the NHS cuts. They are only going to make this worse.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Mr Lamb needs to look up "hypocrite". People will be remembering his failures and duplicity at the next election. Shame on him.

    Report this comment

    SashaP

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Norman is acting as if he is still in opposition . He voted for cuts . He is Health Minister . He is the man in charge . Hypocrite .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • the man works in the HEALTH department let me say that again the HEALTH department and the only effect he has had on ambulances is to cut their funding ! it might have been ok to bleet on the sidelines in the past but you are minister now Norman.!

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    Double Bill

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • So is the privatisation of these ancilliary services or the NHS for that matter, Norman. How about scrapping the Highway Agency, it was their refusal that stopped a dedicated direct access for ambulances the N&N, requisition the land to do it, it will cut 1.5 minutes off the ambulance journey.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Smoke and Mirrors - This from the man who voted FOR cuts in our Ambulance Service in North Norfolk.

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Mr lamb on has half the truth! He needs to dig further it's worse than you'd like to know!

    Report this comment

    Truthteller

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • It is the way the emergency services have been treated by the government that I find totally unacceptable, They should be nearly at the front of the long queue of the "Hang your Head in Shame" section. Typical politician attitude, blame the guys on the front line who hands have been tied buy cuts and doing an excellent job under the impossed constraints. Country is going down the pan, as opposed to sending a fortune abroad, not to mention supporting illegal immigrants and hangers on, put it back where it belongs, into the NHS and other essential services.

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    Mr T

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • Improve the journey time by adding a dedicated access for ambulance from the A 47, if that means to overrule the Highways Authority so be it. To make out that ambulances could be driving faster than they already are, would endanger the public with haste.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 26, 2012

  • As a Tory lap dog he voted in the NHS cuts that he is not seeking credit for reversing. Mr Lamb, we are not stupid and I for one will not be voting for you come the next election. "a vote for labour is a vote for conservative" well I know that's not quite right is it?

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Monday, November 26, 2012

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

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