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MPs criticise ‘second-rate’ ambulance performance in rural Suffolk

10:16 02 May 2012

MPs call for better performance from the East of England Ambulance Service in rural Suffolk.

MPs call for better performance from the East of England Ambulance Service in rural Suffolk.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Two MPs have joined together to demand an improvement in ambulance response times in rural Suffolk after calling the service “second-rate”.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, and Waveney MP Peter Aldous have called for urgent action after figures showed that many people living in rural areas of the county were having to wait longer than the target times.

The service is required to respond to 75pc of life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes, and provide transport within 19 minutes, but the figures show that between December 2011 and March this year, 26pc of emergencies around the Bungay postcode area were responded to within the eight minute target time, with 30pc around Eye, 31pc around Stradbroke, 35pc around Mendham and 53pc around Beccles.

The response within 19 minutes was 66pc for Bungay, 56pc for Eye, 56pc for Stradbroke, 40pc for Mendham and 78pc for Beccles.

Dr Poulter said: “As an NHS hospital doctor, I have always believed in the underlying principle that NHS services and treatment should be available to everyone, regardless of where they happen to live.

“Yet, as these figures show, residents in rural parts of Suffolk are continuing to receive a second-rate ambulance service, despite assurances from the chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust last year that improvements would be made.

“It is unacceptable that ambulance response times are still slower in many parts of Suffolk than other counties in the East of England.”

Mr Aldous added: “For too long, residents in Waveney have been forced to suffer some of the worst ambulance response times in the East of England and, as these latest figures show, the situation on the ground is not improving.

“It is vital that delays in reaching critically injured patients in rural Suffolk are improved.”

A spokesman for the ambulance service said that the figures were at the most challenging time of year and that the trust had its best December ever, while it had also met its target for the year, with targets in some postcode areas exceeded.

She said: “The Trust is commissioned by the PCT to deliver the targets mentioned on a region-wide annual basis, not at an individual town or village level, precisely to take into account the issues inherent in rural infrastructure and isolated locations as well as seasonal variations.

“We have calculated that to deliver a 75pc rate in all rural locations would require an extra £80m of funding per year. We are, however, working with PCTs to look at the possibility of introducing floor targets.”

The Lowestoft area response rates were 75pc within eight minutes and 97pc within 19 minutes, for the Halesworth area it was 59pc and 71pc, and for the Southwold area it was 68pc and 79pc.

2 comments

  • I have only needed an ambulance once in my 65 years, and that was last year when I had a stroke. I could not praise them highly enough, They saved my life I am sure and I have recovered to lead a normlal life.If there are problems it will not be the people at the sharp end but they way they are led by civil servants, managers, politicians and the unions.

    Report this comment

    Johnny Norfolk

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

  • Typical.. Politicians complaining of a second rate service from dedicated people who provide a service to those in need. Maybe if the politicians looked in the mirror and provided a better service to the public then we may all benefit. Is this a case of trying to deflect criticism onto others to try and make yourself look good? Ambulance, Police and Fire service are in the state they are in due to the second rate service provided by politicians.... and rediculous target times that have been set.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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