Minister says ambulance bosses should ‘examine their own consciences’

The region's MPs are debating the performance of the East of England Ambulance Trust.

The region's MPs are debating the performance of the East of England Ambulance Trust. - Credit: Archant 2013

Health minister Anna Soubry said non-executive board members at the region's failing ambulance trust should examine their own consciences as MPs hit out at a 'rotten culture' in the Trust.

At a debate in parliament today Witham MP Priti Patel said the East of England Ambulance Trust had experienced serious issues of accountability and leadership mismanagement and was suffering from the 'rotten culture' refered to by Suffolk MP Dan Poulter earlier this week.

It comes after a damning review of the Trust earlier this month accused the leadership of a lack of focus and being too weak.

In the Westminster Hall debate Broadland MP Keith Simpson asked if there was a systemic 'culture of failure' and of 'buck passing' not just at the ambulance trust but in other areas of the NHS and the public sector.

He warned that a new board could be appointed who 'may very well be recycled individuals from the 'quangocracy' who have perhaps failed in other parts of the country.'

Answered MPs concerns during the 90 minute debate, Ms Soubry, said: 'I think the secretary of state has made it quite clear that it is not a culture that he will accept and he is now becoming the champion of the patient.'

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Ms Patel last week wrote to the non-executive directors of the East of England Ambulance Service calling on them to step down over 'inept' leadership.

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The letter was sent on June 13 and the board's chairman said two of the directors would leave when their terms end this summer.

In the debate Ms Patel question the minister on the position of the non-executive directors and why they had not resigned.

Ms Soubry said: 'I know of no reason why they shouldn't. It is a matter of their own consciences.'

But she added: 'I am not normally one to shy away from giving an opinion, but I think in this instance it is important the ministers don't get involved and don't give an opinion. It would be improper. It is for those who serve in these position to examine their own position and own consciences and act accordingly.'