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Response times to emergencies improving for ambulance trust

Matt Broad,  locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire with East of England Ambulance Service.

Matt Broad, locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire with East of England Ambulance Service.

PAUL TIBBS PHOTOGRAPHY

Improving response times shows a system shake-up within East of England Ambulance Service is working, according to one of its senior directors.

How the trust improved

Cutting senior management jobs and recruiting more student paramedics are some of the measures taken to turn the ambulance trust’s performance around.

Mr Broad said the trust reduced its corporate spending by £10m last year after restructuring the organisation following the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report.

Prior to the CQC inspection, the EDP launched a campaign called Ambulance Watch in October 2012 to highlight the slow responses and poor performances of the trust.

A number of high-profile resignations followed and reviews were ordered. before the trust implemented its current transformation programme.

“Where we had two managers doing a job we now have one doing it,” Mr Broad said.

“We streamlined support services, removed senior jobs, and made redundancies.

The trust also hopes to recruit and train 400 student paramedics during 2015/16.

Of those, 91 will work in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, Mr Broad said.

For more information on how to apply to work for the trust visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk/working-for-us/working-for-us.htm

Emergency crews are getting to the scene faster in four of the seven areas covered by the Eastern Daily Press this April compared to April 2014.

Performance rates have dipped in south and north Norfolk, and West Suffolk.

Mr Matt Broad, locality director for Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, said there was still more work to do but praised staff for their efforts over the last 18 months.

The ambulance trust introduced a transformation programme last year following a report by health regulator the Care Quality Commission in 2013, which said the trust was failing to deliver when it came to the “care and welfare of people who use the service.”

Since then the trust has improved its overall response time for Red1 calls.

Red1 are calls that are classified as immediately life threatening and the target is to arrive at these patients within eight minutes in 75pc of cases.

The trust is currently hitting the 75pc target in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Waveney, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Ipswich and East Suffolk.

From April 2014 to April 2015, response times have improved in Norwich (77.08pc to 90pc), Great Yarmouth and Waveney (68.75pc to 84.5pc), and West Norfolk (62.22pc to 71.7pc).

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith (Con) said: “This is very welcome progress and shows the hard work of the staff and leadership at the trust.

“Anyone who is ill or is facing an emergency expects a good service and patients across Norwich will welcome this.”

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis (Lab) said he welcomed the news but was concerned about the cuts the trust had to make to ensure reponse times improved.

But the figures have dropped in North Norfolk (52.17pc to 38.8pc) and South Norfolk (69.23pc to 60.4pc).

Mr Broad said the location of places in rural areas and poor road networks meant it was very difficult to hit targets there.

“That’s why we’re working closely with the Community First Responders,” he said.

“We also see some large swings in figures there because there are so few Red1 calls.”

There were only 39 Red1 calls in North Norfolk last month.

Red 1 performance has gone up in Ipswich and East Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, but is down in West Suffolk.

The trust has improved its Red2 response times in all areas covered by the EDP from April 2014 to April 2015.

These are calls classed as incidents where the patient is suffering serious breathing difficulties or has a suspected stroke with serious symptoms,

However the trust is only hitting the 75% target in Norwich and Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

Mr Broad said he was focussing on stabilising and improving the Red2 performance.

The trust was ranked sixth of 11 ambulance trusts nationally in March (the latest figures available) this year for Red1 calls.

It had the third worst response times to Red2 calls.

Have you had a good or bad experience with the ambulance service? Email our health correspondent at nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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