Health bosses’ pledge over ambulance delays at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Health bosses have pledged to work together to prevent ambulances from being delayed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The chief executives of the hospital, the East of England Ambulance Trust and NHS Norfolk today met North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb to discuss problems with turnaround times at the Colney hospital.

Mr Lamb had called for a meeting after hearing concerns from paramedics that as many as 12 ambulances had been seen queuing outside the hospital.

Following this morning's meeting at the hospital, the N&N's chief executive Anna Dugdale said: 'The meeting has identified a number of opportunities for us to work together to improve performance.

'Reducing turnaround times requires a co-ordinated approach from the whole health system and we are very encouraged by the discussions today.

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'For our part, we are working on changes right across the hospital which will support our front door and provide an excellent service for patients.'

Hayden Newton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, said: 'This has been a very productive meeting and we are now looking ahead by focusing on embedding best practice with our partners across the region.

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'Joint working is key to delivering improvements and we are confident they can be made.'

A recent report by the Care Quality Commission found that the East of England Ambulance Service had one of the highest amounts of hours lost due to delays at hospitals in the country.

East of England Ambulance Service crews aim to hand patients to accident and emergency staff within a maximum of 15 minutes – but the report showed the target was missed on more than 47,000 occasions in the county from November 2008 to October 2011.

The average handover time was more than three minutes longer than expected at the N&N, King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital in 2010/11 – because of increased pressure on accident and emergency teams.

• See tomorrow's EDP and Evening News for more on this story.

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