August 1 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
An MP and two town councils have added their voices to a growing chorus of concern about planned ambulance cuts in north Norfolk.
Norman Lamb has expressed “real anxiety” about the plans in a letter to head of the regional ambulance service Hayden Newton.
He airs worries including information from local crews that 150 paramedic vacancies were being scrapped in Norfolk, two ambulances at Cromer cut to one and North Walsham’s ambulance axed entirely.
The MP also questions why a planned management review, which front line staff felt could result in substantial savings, had not been tackled while service cuts which could damage patient care were being pursued.
Last night North Walsham Town Council voiced similar concerns, with mayor Dave Robertson saying he had heard that staff feared lives could be lost.
“People regularly wait two or three hours for an ambulance and that could increase if it has to come from Great Yarmouth or Norwich when it is currently parked at the local hospital.”
The service plans to cut its intensive care ambulance fleet size from 276 to 138 vehicles and increase its response car fleet from 145 to 232 vehicles, saying it needs to make changes to cope with a rising tide of 999 calls and find savings of £50m over five years.
Members agreed to ask the East of England Ambulance Service to visit the council to explain the planned changes, savings and impact on services.
Cromer Town Council, which wrote to their counterparts at North Walsham with the same concerns and asking bosses to reconsider, will be invited to the meeting when it happens.