MPs to meet health regulator over ambulance performance

12:00 09 February 2013

Ambulances outside the ambulance station at the QEH.

Ambulances outside the ambulance station at the QEH.

Archant © 2008

Ongoing concerns over East Anglia’s under-performing ambulance trust will be discussed between England’s healthcare regulator and MPs next week.

High ranking officials from the Care Quality Commission will talk with MPs on Monday over the performance issues surrounding the East of England Ambulance Service.

The meeting comes after it emerged that the regulator had conducted their annual unannounced inspection of the ambulance trust to check whether the NHS trust was meeting essential standards of quality and safety.

All health trusts and social care providers in England are routinely inspected by the CQC, which is responsible for checking whether providers comply with the essential standards of quality and safety. If the regulator finds failing services it can issue warning notices and issue fixed penalty notices and can go as far as suspending or cancelling the service’s registration or prosecute.

The performance of the service has been under scrutiny for months after MPs and patients raised serious concerns about response times and long delays in getting to hospital, as reported by the EDP as part of our Ambulance Watch campaign. Paramedics have also expressed their concerns about a controversial redesign of rota and low staff morale at a trust that is looking to make £50m of efficiency savings over the next four years.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service yesterday confirmed that the trust had received the inspection and concerns about response targets for 999 calls were the only issue the CQC inspectors had raised. The spokesman added that Monday’s meeting was not called as a result of the inspection, but to respond to MPs concerns.

The EDP has learnt that five senior figures from the CQC will be attending the meeting on Monday to discuss the performance of the ambulance trust, including national professional adviser on ambulance and emergency care services, head of regional compliance, and corporate policy projects manager.

A CQC spokesman said: “The Care Quality Commission regularly engages with MPs as part of its work and on Monday will be meeting together with MPs to discuss its ongoing work in relation to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.”

Latest figures reveal that the ambulance service only reached 63.9pc of the most urgent 999 calls within eight minutes up until the end of November - missing its 68pc target.

In November, 68.6pc of ‘red’ calls were responded to within eight minutes and 88.9pc within 19 minutes in Suffolk compared to the national target of 75pc and 95pc respectively.

The talks on Monday will be followed by another meeting next month with MPs set to quiz the trust’s chairman Maria Ball and interim chief executive Andrew Morgan on March 14 to get an update on the performance of the ambulance service.

Ambulance chiefs launched a new campaign to hire dozens of extra frontline staff earlier this year and is in the process of recruiting a total of 199 new paramedics and emergency care assistants (ECAs). So far this year the trust has recruited 115 ECAs. However, out of the 75 new paramedic roles, 24 have been offered positions.


  • Police.. Spot On!! please don't let the guys in front line come under fire or critcism for what is happening, they are doing an excellent and very difficult job, it is like trying to run with your shoe laces tied together. Problem is with the government and cutting costs, as opposed to spend millions on foreign aid, or hand outs to illegal immigrants, or giving people who are a threat to our security a life of luxury in expensive London houses they should divert it into the NHS where it belongs, not benefitting those who are just spongers. Or on expensive consultants who will only tell us what we already know. Roll on the next election so we can get rid of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

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    Mr T

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • Heard a couple of examples in and around Cromer in recent weeks for an over-turned car and separately a broken leg, when on both occasions the ambulance took over 40 minutes to attend.

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    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • @ Police. Did the head honcho ever fall out of a tree? The clue is in the question.

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    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Can we not have some genuine action designed to remedy the problems? Instead its going to be another high profile talking shop charade. My prediction: the MPs will jump up and down and produce soundbites calling for action and berating the EEAST management. Meanwhile there will be much earnest wringing of hands and assurances of decisive action by the CQC top brass. Ultimately it will be another panto designed to feed the media and hoodwink the public into thinking the MPs are on our side and are doing something about the problem. The reality is their policies and spending cuts, as enacted by this government, are the root cause of the poor and declining service. Re the CQC, how could anyone have confidence in an organisation being chaired by a failed tory MP whose own record as head honcho of the N&NUH Trust is hardly a recommendation for this role. How did he get it, jobs for the boys maybe. The typical action of torys in government, creating quangos with exciting opportunities for the faithful.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • For some years there was an ambulance based in Watton during the day. It was then relocated to Wayland Hospital until it's closure when it then moved to Attleborough Police Station. How can an ambulance travel twelve miles in eight minutes? It can take half of that to get out of Attleborough.

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    nicholas dasey

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • Look here, will you little people stop banging on about foreign aid. You need to get your facts straight. Although it is true that expenditure in this area has risen under the current government, it is not actually being wasted on helping poor foreigners. Instead the govt is spending millions with the Adam Smith Institute and similar "friendly" think tanks to help it formulate what its policy on foreign aid should be. So you see the money stays in this country and is targeted at those who need it most - allies of the Conservative party.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • We need action not more talking. government ministers are avoiding dong anything, Norman Lambe has proved to be all talk and no real action in power. Its no good just drawing attention to the problems we need ACTION now.i

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    Johnny Norfolk

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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