Ambulance Watch: Fears raised about increase in demand for 999 service

An East of England Ambulance Service ambulance in Norwich. An East of England Ambulance Service ambulance in Norwich.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
6:30 AM

Demand for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust is reaching a threshold beyond which it will be difficult to cope, according to a new director.

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Matt Broad, appointed in late May as locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, said calls were increasing in number so much that, “we are going to reach a threshold of what we can cope with as a service.”

Speaking at a meeting of the EEAST board yesterday, Mr Broad added: “If it continues to grow that is a very worrying picture… we are going to reach very soon a plateau in where we can go.”

During the meeting the chief executive of the trust, Anthony Marsh, said there had been a “substantial increase in 999 calls this year from last year without any increase in staff. There is light at the end of the tunnel but it is a very long tunnel.”

The trust are currently in the process of recruiting 400 student paramedics in 2014 and 2015, 341 of these have already been recruited.

In June the ambulance trust received an additional 1,680 calls over contract in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The trust’s control room for the three counties typically receives between 800 and 1,200 calls a day.

Interim trust board chairman Sarah Boulton added: “I don’t think we should be under any illusions that actually there are some side effects as a result of that pressure.”

A report presented by Mr Broad to the board meeting said: “Current activity has put significant pressure on the trust’s ability to meet national targets.

“A sustainable service delivery and performance position is also dependent upon core staffing levels at the correct clinical grades which, although now in the process of being attained, will take significant time.

“The volatility of performance in terms of national and local standards and the ability of the Trust to deliver a consistently good and patient centred service to its patients will continue until such time as the six priority work streams are more fully addressed.

“Good progress has happened to date and it is essential that the whole organisation continues to work towards these goals in order to provide a safe and appropriate service to the region’s population.”

4 comments

  • Daisy that made perfect sense to me. Really?

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    getalife

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Also problems with seeing a doctor, i was told my doctor wants to see me to discuss blood test results, i have to wait till september before i can get an appointment, thought the government had changed all that.

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    gerry mitson

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • It's not just the ambulance service is it ? Everything is reaching breaking point isn't it? Yet we still continue to want to pile people into the county, when we simply don't have the infrastructure to cope, it's just plain madness.

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    Vic Sponge

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • I think the lay person would agree that the success of an ambulance service rests upon the accurate assessment of a region's need-the demography the geography the particular nature of businesses eg tourism and the provision of alternative emergency care for less serious cases. What the lay person may not be able ti understand is the notion of an artificial ceiling on the provision of the most basic element of emergency care-getting the sick to an A&E unit. And in the same way as we older women are angered and puzzled by the notion of turning women away from maternity units-we wonder why there is such rigidity in the matter of expertise for paramedic teams. Just as in the past women were admitted regardless of how many " teams" of midwives were available and the system coped, one is tempted to wonder if the provision of ambulances which can pick up a patient and get them to hospital as fast as possible rather than leaving them prone on pavement or football field for two or three hours is not a better option than spending on paramedics in cars and on bikes.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

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

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