Ambulance Watch: Commissioners call for ‘significant improvement’ in ambulance response times in North Norfolk

Matt Broad, ambulance locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Matt Broad, ambulance locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Archant © 2013

A senior ambulance manager has warned that it may be difficult to hit performance improvement targets in parts of Norfolk because of increased demand and hospital delays.

Members of the GP-led North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) yesterday urged officials from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) to make 'significant improvements' to response times in the area after pledging extra money to the under-performing organisation earlier this year.

The 19 CCGs that cover the East of England made a commitment to invest almost £15m into the organisation to hire hundreds of extra front-line staff.

However, members of the North Norfolk CCG governing body yesterday warned that they expected to see improvement in response times in the area by March 2015.

EEAST is currently only responding to around 40pc of the most urgent 999 calls within eight minutes in North Norfolk and commissioners want that figure to rise to 65pc by the end of the financial year.

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Matt Broad, locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, said the trust was on course to recruit 400 new student paramedics by the end of 2014/15.

However, he said the number of 999 calls in North Norfolk were increasing by around 500 a year.

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'All the time we are experiencing hospital delays and experiencing an increase in activity, those trajectories will be challenging to meet and every part of the health system has to work together. I am confident that ambulance response times will improve in Norfolk, but we need support from all of the system,' he said.

Mr Broad added that the trust would be recruiting duty locality officers to work in Cromer, Fakenham and Diss to improve rural ambulance responses.

Anoop Dhesi, chairman for North Norfolk CCG, added: 'We put extra investment to get to 65pc by March 2015. It is something we want to see significant improvement on. 40pc is very poor for patients.'

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