Skilled paramedics kept waiting in ambulance backlogs outside the region’s hospitals are wasting 1,845 hours a month, a Norfolk and a Suffolk MP learned today.

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The lost time was equivalent to 154 12-hour paramedic shifts, according to North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

Now a hospitals summit is planned to tackle the problem.

Mr Lamb was given the statistics with Dr Daniel Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, when they met Andrew Morgan, chief executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney, and Hayden Newton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS).

The MPs heard about a raft of measures underway to tackle ambulance response times since an earlier meeting last October.

Mr Lamb said he welcomed the ambulance service’s “really clear programme” of steps aimed at improvement but would be closely monitoring the situation and had asked for figures this November which he hoped would show further progress, especially with ambulance turnaround times at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“That figure is quite staggering,” said Mr Lamb. “It’s an extraordinary waste of professional human resources which frustrates the paramedics enormously.”

The problem meant held up ambulances were not available to respond to emergencies. “In a life-threatening case that could result in death and it can result in worse outcomes short of death, such as permanent disability in the case of a stroke,” he added.

A Care Quality Commission report on the EEAS in May found that it met overall targets, but needed to improve turnaround times at hospitals and tackle its response times in very rural areas.

Long hospital hold-ups have been cited as a reason why the service sometimes has difficulties meeting its eight-minute response target to the most urgent rural calls and 19-minute target for providing a back-up ambulance for transport within 19 minutes.

The MPs were told of recent and future EEAS actions and developments including:

● Placing a “hard focus”, on hospital handover delays over 30 minutes, including hosting a summit with hospitals to discuss the problem, share best practice and explore ways forward.

● Better management of 999 calls to distinguish between urgent and non-emergency cases and make sure the most needy receive help faster, with further investment planned by the end of October.

● Better use of Community First Responders.

● Cutting time spent at hospital before and after patient handover.

● Recruiting more emergency care assistants – a target of 114 by the end of October.

Mr Lamb said he had pledged, on behalf of the health chiefs, to put pressure on Monitor, the regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts, to prioritise the ambulance turnaround problem at hospitals and try and encourage a “change of mindset.”

Mr Newton said: “I’m really pleased to have had such a positive and productive meeting with Mr Lamb and Dr Poulter which focused on how our plans to improve service across the trust, including in rural areas, have progressed and what actions we are taking forward to build on this work further.

“Both MPs seemed very happy with this progress and gave their support to help tackle hospital handover delays.”

Anna Dugdale, chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich said: “Our hospital covers a large rural area with an elderly population and we have a significant proportion of emergency admissions.

“We are working hand in hand with the ambulance trust to make those transfers as smooth as possible, reducing turnaround times and managing the risk presented by peaks in demand with the ambulance trust and other members of the health and social care community.”

11 comments

  • well i dont think the hospitals will want to take lectures from norman lamb on the nhs given what his government are doing to their funding .

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    Double Bill

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • what are the government going to do to the hospitals fine them after 3 hours instead of the four at the present moment if a patient is still in A&E ridiculous!!!! (i have had this first hand) as for the quote from "anna dugdale " what is that supposed to mean it just doesnt make any sense the research makes us all live longer so there will be a more elderly population all over the country not just the NNUH. im afraid i agree with @newsflash norman is always at the front until something more recent newsworthy crops up then dissapears until the next time (look at cromer crab closure) bring back hospitals with doctors and nurses where you know you will get seen and treated as a human being not just a number for the white collar brigade to quote time after time

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

  • See Also : Concerns over long waits for ambulances in north Norfolk Steve Downes Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:50 AM Need not find anymore EDP reports for posting as they ones that i have researched speak for themselves. How many Failures of meeting targets does Hayden Newton have to make before he goes

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • See Also : Ambulance crews fail to meet Norfolk targets Kim Briscoe Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:11 AM

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • See Also : MPs criticise ‘second-rate’ ambulance performance in rural Suffolk By RICHARD WOOD Wednesday, May 2, 2012 10:16 AM

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • See CQC tells ambulance service to address Norfolk and Suffolk rural response times By KIM BRISCOE, Health correspondent Monday, May 28, 2012 7:32 PM Last Months reply from Heydon Newton appears to be the usual Rhetoric when any problems occur on his shift

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • dear north norfolk news we know you love norman lamb but does every article have to come with a massive photograph of him ? he isn ` t the bee all and end all !

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    Double Bill

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • So, the EA ambulance service is failing in its response times? The various hospitals in the region are failing in their treatment times? Hmm, why is this? Unrealistic targets set by a government thats intent on destroying the NHS perhaps? I say that we should shut down the NHS - make it all private and then see how well the moaners do when they have to pay.....

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    Babelfish

    Monday, June 18, 2012

  • I have said it before and I will say it again, Hayden Newton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service is consistently failing to meet his targets time after time. In any other profession he would have been sacked. Time to go Mr NEWTON resign the people are fed up of your Rhetoric

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • For how many more years will Lamb pledge to sort out ambulance times? He rolls out this pledge, along with talk of getting tough about our trains, every 3 months. Has it got us anywhere?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Friday, June 15, 2012

  • I think it is also a case of Joe public understanding what Accident and Emergency mean's. it is not the place to go with a cold or sore throat or any minor ailment's that is what chemist's, doctor's dentist's and walk in centre's are for. If they were to remember that then the hospitals will run quicker on patient throughput and ambulances would not be held up and would be freed much quicker.

    Report this comment

    loco

    Friday, June 15, 2012

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

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