by STEVE DOWNES
Friday, September 28, 2012
The east of England’s ambulance boss has pledged to rethink proposed cuts in North Walsham.
On Thursday, Hayden Newton, chief executive of East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), met North Norfolk Labour Party campaigners to hear of their fears about the proposal.
Earlier in the week, the campaigners handed over to the trust’s board a 6,503-name Act on Ambulances petition protesting at the cuts.
At Thursday’s meeting, which also featured NHS Norfolk and Waveney chief executive Andrew Morgan, Mr Newton agreed to review the demand in North Walsham to see if there was a case to reinstate the 56 ambulance hours that could be lost.
Campaigners told him that they welcomed a change of heart on proposed cuts in Cromer, announced earlier this month, but said the revised proposals did not go far enough in North Walsham.
In response, Mr Newton agreed to the review - and promised to feed back his findings within a week.
Denise Burke, chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, said: “Thursday’s meeting was very productive. The views of the public who signed our petition are being listened to.
“Mr Newton has pledged to look at whether there is a case to reinstate the remainder of the cuts to our ambulance service at North Walsham, and he will tell us the results of his investigation next week.
“Furthermore, he said that EEAST will continue to review the whole of north Norfolk’s ambulance service as we head to the winter months. We are grateful to everyone who signed our petition and persuaded the ambulance trust to rethink.”
The trust revised its original proposed cuts in North Walsham and Cromer following a £3m injection announced earlier this month.
The net effect would be to leave North Walsham with 56 fewer ambulance hours per week but 168 more rapid response vehicle (RRV) hours. Cromer would have an extra four ambulance hours and 52 more RRV hours.
The changes to Norfolk’s ambulance service are expected to come into effect at the end of October.