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Demand for action over 'continued failures' in ambulance response time targets

PUBLISHED: 21:02 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:14 21 November 2019

The ambulance service reported the deaths on the staff intranet. Photo: EEAST

The ambulance service reported the deaths on the staff intranet. Photo: EEAST

EEAST

A Norfolk council has demanded action over "increasing concern" about continued failures to meet ambulance response time targets.

Councillors in north Norfolk have highlighted fears over the risk to residents, due to the East of England Ambulance Service's (EEAST) failure to respond to 75pc of urgent calls within their target time of eight minutes and called for "significant improvement".

At a meeting of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), on Wednesday, November 20, council leader Sarah Butikofer said: "This in no way should reflect on staff who go above and beyond every day of their working lives to try and help people in north Norfolk."

Mrs Butikofer, Liberal Democrat group leader, added: "It's really important we pay tribute to what they do."

A motion proposed by Mrs Butikofer and seconded by Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Brown stated: "This council is increasingly concerned about the trust's continued failure to meet their targets in responding to 75pc of its most urgent calls within eight minutes. This is simply not acceptable - our residents need and deserve better."

Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat council leader on North Norfolk District Council. Photo: Sarah ButikoferSarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat council leader on North Norfolk District Council. Photo: Sarah Butikofer

Figures obtained by the council indicated that the district's best performing areas saw the eight minute target met in just 35pc of calls, while the worst performing areas were reached on time in just 2pc of calls, and noted response times in Wells-next-the-Sea were "among the worst in the country".

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Councillors voted to agree the motion calling for "significant improvement in response times" and authorised the council's head of paid service, Steve Blatch to write to Dorothy Hosein, chief executive of the ambulance trust.

And councillors also agreed to write to the relevant government minister to ask what steps are being taken to address vehicle and staff shortages, and handover delays at hospitals, and called for a working group to track progress.

READ MORE: Staffing problem blamed for slow ambulance response times and hospital handover delays

An ambulance trust spokesperson previously said they were committed to improving response times "using a range of schemes and initiatives", including "continued recruitment of staff, reviewing the times that ambulances are working and the amount of ambulances that we provide at busier times".

Conservative councillor Nigel Dixon proposed amending the motion to include more training for community first responders, to ease pressure on paramedics.

The amendment and the motion were both approved unanimously.

READ MORE: 'Simply not acceptable' - Fresh call for action on ambulance response times

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