Ambulance Watch: Five directors at board of East of England Ambulance Service accused of “culture of incompetence” resign in three days

Anne Osborn, non-executive director

Anne Osborn, non-executive director - Credit: Archant

A clearout of the leadership of the region's struggling ambulance service continued today with directors resigning en masse.

Margaret Stockham has resigned as non-executive director.

Margaret Stockham has resigned as non-executive director. - Credit: Archant

Three more non-executive directors on the board of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) quit today meaning all five have resigned in three days.

Caroline Bailes.

Caroline Bailes. - Credit: Archant

The board is now without a vice chair after Paul Remington, Margaret Stockham, Phil Barlow and Anne Osborn followed the lead of Caroline Bailes and left their posts after pressure from MPs.

Paul Remington, non-executive director, vice chairman

Paul Remington, non-executive director, vice chairman - Credit: Archant

Failings at the trust have been continually highlighted by The Eastern Daily Press since the Ambulance Watch campaign was launched last October.

Phil Barlow, non-executive director

Phil Barlow, non-executive director - Credit: Archant

And at the start of June a report by the CEO of West Midlands Ambulance Service, Anthony Marsh, criticised the board for developing a 'sense of helplessness'.

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It prompted Suffolk Costal MP Therese Coffey and Witham MP Priti Patel to write to all five non-executive directors demanding their resignations.

The EEAST said it was now 'drawing a line in the sand' after the remaining non-executive directors quit.

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Dr Geoff Harris, the new chair of the trust, said: 'We must maintain our focus on continuing to drive up the service to patients whilst I focus on putting a new board in place.

'In my short time in post I have been very impressed with the staff and volunteers I have met in the trust - our staff do a fantastic job every day.

'My job is to ensure we now move forward, appoint new non-executive directors and deliver the best possible service to patients.'

The service said it would be bringing in interim support for the board so that it can continue to operate, while the vacant posts are advertised.

Dr Harris added: 'At the trust's board meeting this week, we heard of some encouraging early signs of improvements including better response times and reduced sickness absence rates.

'However, turning round the organisation will take time and we need to deliver further and sustained service improvements to make this a high performing ambulance trust.'

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