December 13 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
An extra 65 front-line staff have been promised for north Norfolk in a bid to tackle the worst ambulance response times in the region.
The paramedics, emergency medical technicians and emergency care assistants would be among 300-plus extra front-line staff recruited by the under-performing East of England Ambulance Service Trust as part of its turnaround plan.
The news was announced by Cromer GP Alasdair Lennox at yesterday afternoon’s governing body meeting of the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Dr Lennox was among CCG representatives who had met with Andrew Morgan, the ambulance trust’s interim chief executive, yesterday morning.
They were particularly concerned that ambulance response times in north Norfolk were worse than those in the rest of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
In some parts of north Norfolk only 8pc of stroke victims reached specialist care within the critical 60 minutes, compared to 95pc in Norwich, according to Dr Lennox.
And while the trust aimed to respond to 75pc of life-threatening incidents within eight minutes, in north Norfolk the percentage had been as low as 29pc.
“The trust is very aware that this is ethically unacceptable,” he added. “Universally, throughout the months, we are at the bottom of the county and the region’s statistics but we have had a reassurance that we are the trust’s priority to sort out.”
The meeting heard that the 60 minutes were vital because stroke patients needed a CT scan and possible thrombolysis - a clot-busting drug injection which can halt further brain damage if given in time.
Dr Lennox said the current situation, which relied on stroke patients being taken to Norwich, was unsustainable in north Norfolk because parts were so remote. One solution could be to have a CT scanner and make thrombolysis available at Cromer Hospital.
Under the turnaround plan, the trust aims to increase its current 180 double-staffed ambulances to a figure nearer 250, with new ambulances serving rural areas.