Partnership yet to improve ambulance turnaround times at N&N

Ambulances at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on a busy evening.

Ambulances at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on a busy evening. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A partnership to resolve ambulance turnaround delays at Norfolk's main hospital has yet to produce significant results, health chiefs said yesterday.

Members of the new Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said they would be reviewing the impact of Project Domino following its launch at the end of last year.

A meeting at City Hall in Norwich yesterday heard that the initiative, which involves all health and social care services in central Norfolk, had not resolved the pressure problems in the system.

James Elliott, director of operations at Norwich CCG, said the project had been delivering at the start of the winter. However, a recent 'major surge in demand had destabilised the system substantially.'

He added: 'The system is in a state of stress at the moment.' Project Domino aims to improve community services, discharge procedures, capacity at A&E and ambulance service capacity. Capacity issues were highlighted earlier this month when 17 ambulances were queued up at the front door of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the evening of March 6.

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However, commissioners at Norwich CCG said Project Domino would take time before it could deliver big changes. Jonathon Fagge, chief executive officer, said: 'We have a next phase from now to the beginning of next winter which will have significant investment such as remodelling A&E and investment in clinical teams.'

A minimum of 80pc of patients are supposed to be handed over from ambulance to A&E within 15 minutes at the N&N. However, that figure was 50.5pc in November, 54.4pc in December, and 48.4pc in January, according to a report to the Norwich CCG.

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Chris Price, who will be the chairman of the CCG from April 1, said that part of the problem was recruiting more front-line staff in A&E and at the East of England Ambulance Service.

'Whilst it is right that the system comes under scrutiny and people ask serious questions, if we are to attract people to come and work in Norfolk it is really important to get the positive message out there that it is getting better and there are plans to improve,' he said.

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