More praise for new ambulances in Norfolk and Suffolk

By sophie wyllie
Friday, February 15, 2013
3.31 PM

Community leaders and MPs have continued to welcome the news that an additional 15 ambulances are to be put back on the streets – but warned that more are still needed.

Community leaders and MPs have continued to welcome the news that an additional 15 ambulances are to be put back on the streets – but warned that more are still needed.

The East of England Ambulance Service’s announcement on Wednesday that double-staffed vehicles would be deployed to key towns across the eastern counties followed pressure from the EDP’s Ambulance Watch campaign, highlighting service shortcomings.

The towns they will cover include Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Potter Heigham, Beccles and Mildenhall.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said the news showed the trust was taking problems seriously, adding: “I have persistently highlighted the problem of unacceptably slow response times, taking up concerns from the public and from ambulance staff themselves.

“The key thing now is that these steps bring improvements in the service for patients.”

Denise Burke, North Norfolk Labour Party chairman, thanked the 10,000 residents who signed the Act on Ambulances petition, but said North Walsham still needed the ambulance it lost in autumn cuts.

“We have constantly argued that the move to replace ambulances with rapid response vehicles, as a result of government cuts in funding, would not bring the improvements that health officials wanted,” she said.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said welcomed the news of a new ambulance for Downham Market but said she would discuss provision for patients in Thetford, Swaffham and surrounding villages at a meeting with EEAST acting chief executive Andrew Morgan next month.

Downham Market mayor Robin Pegg said: “It’s great, it’s a population that relies on ambulances as we are 10 miles from King’s Lynn so anything extra can only help.”

Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole said the extra vehicle was “good news all round” but Graham Minshull, the mayor of Diss, said: “It is a step in the right direction but not the final solution.”

Paul Williams, North Norfolk district councillor for Potter Heigham, said: “Hopefully the responses will be quicker.”