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Health officials to make statement before Christmas to “rebuild public confidence”

ambulances at East of England Ambulance Service 

picture by Adrian Judd

for EN

ambulances at East of England Ambulance Service picture by Adrian Judd for EN

Health minister Norman Lamb has said a public statement to “rebuild public confidence” in urgent health care in Norfolk will be issued before Christmas.

The North Norfolk MP, attended a briefing meeting with the key players in Norfolk’s urgent health care on Friday, including the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).

Mr Lamb has persistently highlighted the problem of delayed ambulance response times and the Liberal Democrat minister took in a dossier of incidents that he has been made aware of to the meeting.

Mr Lamb said: “Basically they told me they would be coming up with a clear plan and some clear action points in the next two or three weeks.

“If something goes wrong with one part of our urgent care system then it has a knock-on effect so the key thing is that all parts of the system are working together.”

The MP met with Pam Crispin, medical director of EEAST, Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust (N&N) and Jonathon Faggee, director of operations and clinical transformation of the new Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Mr Lamb said that the problems are very much “a Norfolk problem” and not countrywide but said he has asked for the Department of Health to investigate ambulance targets.

He said it didn’t seem right that EEAST could be performing well in some areas, such as Hertfordshire and Essex, but not be performing well in Norfolk and still be meeting its government target.

Mr Lamb continued: “There seem to be a number of problems. It seems we have an enormous problem with discharging patients into the care system.

“We also have quite an elderly population, particularly in my area in north Norfolk, so the (N&N) hospital is the busiest in the region.

“The hospital is always full and if the hospital can’t get patients out of accident and emergency into a bed and they can’t get patients out of an ambulance into a bed, then the whole system is always under a lot of strain.”

Ms Crispin, EEAST’s medical director, said the group had discussed and welcomed a report about hospital turnaround times from the NHS Confederation, entitled Zero Tolerance: Making Ambulance Handover Delays a Thing of the Past.

She said: “It was a very productive meeting where a plan was drafted up together to tackle the high demand for emergency care across Norfolk, details of which will be released before Christmas.”

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