The East of England has some of the worst ambulance response times in the country, especially in rural areas like large parts of Suffolk Coastal.

I have been leading the campaign to improve response times and get a better deal for patients. After much hard work the service has undergone a lot of positive change over the last few years and long ambulance delays are becoming increasingly rare. I will continue to press the case to make sure the service continues to improve.


09 AUG 2016

Ambulance Service 'Requires 'Improvement'

Therese has welcomed the CQC inspection report which reinforces the need for improvements in ambulance response times for patients in rural areas after the East of England Ambulance Service was given a 'Requires Improvement' rating by the Care Quality Commission. She intends to organise a meeting with the CQC for Eastern MPs to find out more about the inspection.

This is the first time that the CQC has inspected the Ambulance Service and in the categories of safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership they were given a Requires Improvement rating, with the only exception being care which was rated Outstanding.

Therese said: "While the Ambulance Service were expecting this outcome at this stage of their journey it is still disappointing to see. Progress has been made in turning things around but it is nowhere near quick enough. Patients in rural Suffolk are still not getting the service they need. That said, it is right to recognise that when people who come into contact with the Ambulance Service they would usually agree that the care they receive is outstanding.

"I have a meeting lined up with the Secretary of State for Health when I plan to go into detail about the problems we face in our area. I am also writing to the Chief Executives of those hospitals with the worst handover times which is poor for patient care and reduces the time that ambulances are available to help others who need a 999 response. I am now planning to meet the CQC inspectors so I and other Eastern MPs can be better equipped when scrutinising the service in the future."

 

 


20 JUL 2016

Ambulance Service Update

Therese organised a meeting in Parliament today for Eastern MPs to hear from the Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, Rob Morton. He was joined by Chairman, Sarah Boulton and Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality, Sandy Brown. The meeting is the latest in a series of updates on the Turnaround Plan to improve response times and was the third opportunity for MPs to grill the new Chief Executive on progress made.

Therese said, "We heard about a significant increase in demand and we have asked for more data on this. Unfortunately, there are still major problems on handovers at hospitals despite their efforts. I will be writing to the Chief Executives of the worst performing hospitals - Watford, Colchester and the N&N - to challenge them. I will also be contacting the NHS England Chief Executive.

"Problems with response times in rural areas like East Suffolk remain and I am particularly concerned about response times for people suffering strokes. I will keep organising these meetings until the full turnaround plan is implemented to the benefit of patients."


13 OCT 2015

MPs Quiz New Chief Executive on Ambulance Turnaround Plan

Therese organised a meeting for Eastern MPs to hear from the new Chief Executive of the East of England AmbulanceService, Rob Morton, in Parliament today. He was joined by Chairman, Sarah Boulton and Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality, Sandy Brown.

The meeting is the latest in a series of updates on the Turnaround Plan to improve response times, put in place by Interim Chief Executive Anthony Marsh and the first opportunity for MPs to grill the new Chief Executive on progress made.

Therese said: "I am determined to continue to keep a laser like focus on the Ambulance Service to ensure the full turnaround plan is implemented. The service has gone through significant change in the last 18 months, recruiting more staff and investing in more double staffed ambulances."

Therese added: "There are still some issues with handover times at hospitals, including the Norfolk & Norwich but I am pleased that the new Chief Executive is engaging directly with the Chief Executives of those hospitals to address the issue. There is also a recognition that there is still a lot of work to do to improve staff morale which is being taken seriously."

"One of my main areas of focus is to ensure that patients suffering a stroke get to hospital within 60 minutes to maximise their ability to recover and I pressed the case with the Chief Executive. He has promised to send me more information on how they are performing."


11 MAR 2015

Ambulance Bosses Update MPs on Turnaround Progress

Therese organised the last meeting of this Parliament with the Chief Executive and Chairman of the East of England AmbulanceService, Anthony Marsh and Sarah Boulton, to discuss on progress with the turnaround plan to improve rural response times at a meeting in Parliament last night.

Therese said: "Steady progress continues but I am pushing hard on the local focus, not just the regional statistics. 244 new ambulances have been delivered to replace old ones and by the end of this month there will be no ambulances older than 5 years on the frontline. There are reasons to be cheerful but the board has a clear message that we are impatient for all the changes to be delivered."

Therese added: "Despite a significant recruitment drive of over 400 student paramedics there is still a shortage of paramedics applying from East Suffolk so please consider the student paramedic programme, which could lead to a very fulfilling career."


09 DEC 2014

Ambulance Chiefs Update MPs on Turnaround Progress

The Chief Executive and Chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service, Anthony Marsh and Sarah Boulton, briefed East ofEngland MPs on progress of the turnaround plan to improve rural response times and the resilience of the service in Parliament today. The meeting was organised by Therese.

Therese said: "We were last updated in July so it was a good opportunity to scrutinise the progress made since then. When I was first alerted to poor response times in 2011, the Ambulance Service was hitting its regional targets which masked the poor rural response times and dysfunctional service. One of the most important aspects of the turnaround so far is that the long ambulance delays are becoming rarer and rarer."

"Under the strong leadership of Dr Anthony Marsh the service has already recruited over 400 new student paramedics this year rising to over 500 by April 2015. University Campus Suffolk has been accredited to train paramedics and will start its first courses in March 2015. Alongside the extra frontline staff has been the investment in double staffed ambulances. By March there will be no ambulances more than 5 years old, increasing reliability and strengthening capacity."

Therese added: "There are still concerns in relation to handover delays at some hospitals including the Norfolk and Norwich as well as the robustness of triage through the 111– where the ambulance service have offered paramedics to assist. I will be keeping a careful eye on this."

"Dr Marsh has said that the full turnaround of the service is another year away but we can see that real progress is already being made. My colleagues and I will continue to press the case for a better service to ensure East of England patients get the service they deserve."


07 AUG 2014

More Ambulances on Suffolk's Streets

Following the meeting with the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service hosted byTherese in July, the service have confirmed the number of ambulances deployed and new paramedics employed in Suffolk.

Therese said: "Since Dr Anthony Marsh joined the trust and embarked on his turnaround plan, 18 new ambulances have been deployed in Suffolk and 52 new student paramedics have been recruited. They have also appointed an additional 9 qualified paramedics."

Therese added: "It is very welcome news for patients across Suffolk that more staff and more ambulances are now out on the front line. The full turnaround won't happen for another 18 months but the Chief Executive has promised monthly updates by County so I will continue to press the case for a better service here in Suffolk."


08 JUL 2014

Ambulance Bosses Update MPs on Turnaround Progress

Therese today hosted a meeting with the Chief Executive and the new Interim Chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service, Anthony Marsh and Sarah Boulton to update MPs on the progress of the turnaround plan to improve rural response times and the resilience of the service.

Therese said: "We were last updated in February so it was useful to find out the progress being made. The Trust is now under the strong leadership of Dr Marsh who step by step is turning around performance. He has already recruited over 300 student paramedics and is aiming for more than 400 by September, 3 months ahead of schedule. I was particularly pleased to learn that more than half of those student paramedics who had previously been recruited but were left with incomplete training have now completed that training. So more staff are out on the front line which is great news for patients right across East Anglia."

Therese added: "I was also pleased to hear that Dr Marsh has deployed 147 brand new ambulances on the region's streets bringing the average age of the fleet down to 7 years. 120 more are on order and by March that average age will reduce to 5 years. Previously around 15% of ambulances would be off the road at any one time because of breakdowns."

"Dr Marsh recognises that the full turnaround of the service won't happen for another 18 months as more paramedics are recruited and deployed but we can already see that progress is being made and staff morale has improved. My colleagues and I will continue to press the case for a better service and together we will make sure East of England patients get the service they deserve".


11 FEB 2014

Therese Welcomes Key Changes to Improve Ambulance Service

The new Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, Dr Anthony Marsh, was in Parliament today to brief East ofEngland MPs on the steps he is taking to turnaround the performance of the service.

Speaking after the meeting Therese said: "I am impressed by the strong leadership Dr Marsh is already showing and he has made significant changes to the action plan. He clearly stated that with so many priorities being pursued under the old plan that there was a lack of clarity for all on achieving the better service we all want. We heard that he will focus on a few key actions of the recruitment of 400 new paramedics, accelerating the ambulance replacement programme, maximising clinical staff on the frontline and reducing overheads to invest in more paramedics. The outcome will be that instead of focusing all resources on a few areas in an attempt to hit national targets, patients will not be left waiting so long for ambulances as they have been."

Therese added: "Dr Marsh assured us today that there will be 27 more ambulances out on the road by the end of March and up to 50 more next year. He has also committed to giving MPs quarterly updates on how many paramedics he has recruited and how many ambulances he has deployed in each County".

"The turnaround of the service is taking longer than any of us would have liked but Dr Marsh is already making an impact, going out to see his team, improving staff morale and has a relentless focus on improving the service for patients. The performance of the service has not gone out of the spotlight of the Department of Health or NHS England. I have been working for a long time to ensure the service improves and will continue to keep up the pressure".


29 JAN 2014

New Ambulance Service Chief Executive to Address MPs

The new Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service, Dr Anthony Marsh, will have an early opportunity to brief East of England MPswhen he visits Parliament next month.

The regional meeting hosted by Health Minister, Earl Howe, will take place on the 11th February.

Therese who has been vocal in the campaign for a better Ambulance Service said: "Anthony Marsh will have been in place for 6 weeks when we meet in early February so it is an ideal time for him to give us a candid view on the challenges still facing the service".

Therese added: "I have spoken to Dr Marsh on several occasions since his appointment and I look forward to hearing from him in more detail about how performance times can be turned around and the recruitment of more paramedics crucial for a better service in Suffolk".


17 DEC 2013

Therese Welcomes Appointment of New Ambulance Service Chief Executive

Therese has today welcomed the appointed of Dr Anthony Marsh as the new Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service.

It was Dr Marsh that conducted the report into the failings of the Trust and made recommendations for changes to improve response times for patients.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "I am delighted that Dr Marsh has been appointed as the new Chief Executive. He has a proven track record of strong leadership and I am pleased he has an opportunity to implement the recommendations that he previously made including the recruitment of many more paramedics. I am sure his appointment will be a key catalyst in turning around performance."

Dr Marsh will be here 4 days a week as he also continues to lead the successful West Midlands Ambulance Service.


28 JUN 2013

Therese Welcomes Resignation of Non-Executive Directors

The remaining non-executive directors of the East of England Ambulance Service Board have now resigned.

Paul Remington, Phil Barlow and Ann Osborn handed their resignation to the new interim chairman, Geoff Harris this morning. This follow the resignations of Caroline Bailes and Margaret Stockham in the last couple of days.

Reacting to the news local MP, Therese Coffey said: "I am pleased that the remaining non-executive directors have finally faced reality and moved on. This is a fresh opportunity to find some new directors which I hope will bring credibility to the action plan, essential to give re-assurance to all residents of the East of England that they will get the service they deserve."


25 JUN 2013

Therese Renews Call for Non-Executive Directors to Resign in Parliamentary Debate

Therese spoke in an important debate in Parliament today on the performance of the East of England Ambulance service.

In a debate secured by Essex MP, Priti Patel, Therese called for the immediate resignation of the non-executive directors who presided over the failure ahead of tomorrow's Board meeting.

Therese said: "It is imperative that the remaining non-executive directors resign their posts immediately and that the NHS Trust Development Authority act on that. As Dr Marsh pointed out in his excellent report the current leadership in the Board isn't strong enough. There is a lack of focus and grip which has contributed towards the deterioration of performance across the Trust."

"I want to thank our local newspapers the EADT and the EDP – especially Nigel Pickover and Terry Hunt who have done really good things keeping up the pressure and sticking up for their readers; our constituents."

She added: "The Board was fixated on getting Foundation Trust status, it didn't matter that residents in Suffolk had been failed as long as the regional target was met. Patients were not having their complaints answered they were not being treated as individuals. The Trust need to focus on the needs of individual patients."

Therese continued: "I want to ensure that our patients, our constituents, our residents can be rest assured that we will not stop pursuing excellence for them wherever they live in our great part of the Country because they deserve nothing but the best. Until the non-executive directors go we will not have confidence in the leadership of the Trust to make those changes".


18 JUN 2013

Therese Urge Ambulance Trust Directors to Quit Immediately

Essex MP Priti Patel and Therese have written to five individual Board members of the East of England Ambulance ServiceNHS Trust to urge them to resign. The Board members – Paul Remington, Phil Barlow, Margaret Stockham, Anne Osborn and Caroline Bailes – failed to address problems with ambulance response times and have been criticised in a recent Governance Review for not providing leadership or being strong enough to take the Trust forward. Three of the Board members have served multiple terms on the Board (Mr Remington and Ms Bailes have been Board members since 2006 and Mr Barlow was appointed in 2007) and Ms Patel and Dr Coffey have written to the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Health Secretary to ask that the NEDs be removed for their posts.

The report sets out that the Board 'have developed a sense of helplessness' and 'that there is a lack of confidence and trust that the Board has the expertise, experience or gravitas to respond to the substantial challenges facing the organisation'. Even more damning it says 'that there is a lack of focus and grip from the Board which has contributed towards the deterioration of performance.'

Priti Patel said: "It's time for the Board to be refreshed and it is disgraceful that these individuals are refusing to do the decent thing and resign. Instead of providing leadership they allowed services to deteriorate and patients' lives to be put at risk. It is shameful that they continue to be paid from public funds and scandalous that they have yet to be dismissed."

Therese said: "The report is a damning indictment of the poor level of governance that has been going on in the Trust for some time. Whilst frontline staff are doing their best this deterioration has not just happened overnight. I am surprised that having read the report the non-executive directors have still not offered their resignation."


11 JUN 2013

Therese Welcomes Government Commissioned Report to Turnaround Ambulance Trust

Therese has welcomed the report by Anthony Marsh, published today with recommendations to turn around the performance of the East of England Ambulance Service but wants to see fast paced change with timescales when the Ambulance Trust responds to the report in four weeks' time.

Anthony Marsh, the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, was appointed by NHS England to review the performance and governance of the Trust. Criticism was made of the disconnect between the upper levels of management and the Board with the front line, training, sickness, recommended many changes despite the turnaround plan published by the Trust in April following their failure by the Care Quality Commission.

Therese said: "This report is a damning indictment of the poor level of governance that has been going on in the Trust for some time. Whilst frontline staff are doing their best this deterioration has not just happened overnight. A number of MPs today were surprised that having read the report a number of the non-executive directors still have not offered their resignation."

Therese added: "Anthony Marsh makes some robust recommendations and I welcome this. I am pleased that he will be supporting the Trust in the near future spending two days a week here. It is now down to the Trust and the Board to respond with a plan within 4 weeks. I want to see a single plan that is clear, timely and will restore confidence. I am hoping for an even greater pace of change so that the service should be what residents of Suffolk and all of Eastern England can rightly expect."

You can read the full report here.


22 APR 2013

Therese Welcomes Action Plan but Wants More Detail on how it will be Implemented

Therese has today welcomed the publication of the Ambulance Trust's action plan to turn around performance and improve response times.

Therese said "I welcome the publication of the action plan particularly the recognition of past problems and the commitment to recruit more staff and their deployment in more double staffed ambulances."

Therese added: "While it is good to see long list of potential improvements, there is little detail on how they will make it happen or when. For example at the moment under half of all stroke patients get to hospital within an hour. How and when will this change? I want more detail that we can track to give Suffolk residents more confidence that improvements will be made and quickly. "


27 MAR 2013

Therese Welcomes Change in Ambulance Service Board

Therese has welcomed the decision form Maria Ball to step down as Chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "I welcome her decision and thank her for her 6 years of service. It is the right decision for her to step aside and is the next step to turning the performance of the service around."


20 MAR 2013

Care Quality Commission Reports on Ambulance Trust

Therese  has reacted with concern to today's CQC report for the East of England Ambulance Service, which indicatedperformance and response times for patients in rural areas, particularly in Suffolk and Norfolk, we're getting worse.

Therese said: "It is a sad day for the Ambulance Trust, as it fails on the key measure of response times with the impact on patients and staff. I am pleased that the good work on other issues has been recognised by CQC. As the first Ambulance Trust to be failed by CQC on these criteria, Board directors, including the Chairman, really do have to ask themselves if this is the right time to continue or if they should step aside.

There are some factors they do not control directly like hospital handover times but these issues are not all new. I want to see the Chief Executive succeed and it is good that we are getting some external help.

Therese added: "We already know that the Government asked the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service to go in and the Trust have a further 7 days to produce a plan to start turning things around."

"The problems didn't arise overnight and it will take some time to fix but we cannot wait for a year. I am prepared to do my bit and press the powers that be to resolve the key causes of delays."


14 MAR 2013

East Anglian MP’s Quiz Ambulance Bosses

East Anglian MPs held another meeting with the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Chief Executive and Operations Director of the Ambulance Trust today to discuss the issues relating to ambulance response times.

A wide range of areas were covered with good news that the Trust is now working with other Trusts to improve. This includes working with Anthony Marsh, CEO of the West Midlands Ambulance Services, has also been brought in by the Government to make recommendations to improve performance.

Therese said: "I welcome the decision made to bring in Anthony Marsh and learning from other areas, though I wonder why this hasn't happened before. The new Chief Executive is working hard to restore morale of frontline staff and add more ambulances. I am glad the Board are supporting this.

Therese added: "This was another challenging though useful meeting. I am grateful that the Chair and Chief Executive came to Parliament again. The CQC report should be published soon. Members of the Board need to reflect on their own accountability for where we are after what has happened in the last few years. A sense of urgency with clear timelines are still needed. Hospitals have to do their bit with handovers but I am still looking to the Board. A culture of hitting regional targets but not focusing on each county feels like hitting the target and missing the point."


05 MAR 2013

Therese Meets Ambulance Trust Chiefs to Discuss Performance

Therese met with the Chairman and Interim Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service, Maria Ball and Andrew Morgan,inParliament today to discuss the performance of the Ambulance Trust.

Issues on the table included rural response times, hospital handover times, demand for ambulances and staffing levels.

Therese said: "It was a useful meeting. I still have real concerns about the performance of the Trust in particular the rural response rates in Suffolk. The Chairman & Chief Executive are implementing a new staffing structure with local managers to have greater autonomy in Suffolk and Norfolk. I welcome that change. "

The Chairman and the Chief Executive will be in Parliament again next week to answer questions from East Anglian MP's.

The Care Quality Commission will be publishing the report on their announced inspection shortly.


26 FEB 2013

Therese Asks Government to Intervene to Improve Ambulance Service Performance

Today in Parliament Therese highlighted the poor ambulance service experienced by Suffolk residents and asking for direct intervention by the Government.

Quizzing the Minister Therese said: "Patients in Suffolk are very worried about the performance of the ambulance service. In the last 2 months fewer than 60% of ambulances have hit the target in reaching emergency cases."

Therese reiterated to the Minister that all the MP's in the East of England are concerned and she asked the Government to intervene.

The Minister, Anna Soubry MP, replied that our concern was now well known at the highest levels and that Earl Howe who has responsibility overall for ambulance has agreed to meet MPs. The meeting with Earl Howe is due to take place on the 18th March.

Therese added: "I will continue to highlight the poor service that residents in Suffolk endure. While I am pleased that more ambulances are now available, focus needs to be maintained on response times. The report from the Care Quality Commission's snap inspection is due to be published next month which will shed more light on performance."


11 FEB 2013

Care Quality Commission Update MP’s on Ambulance Trust Inspection

Therese invited the Care Quality Commission to give a briefing to regional MP's in Parliament today followingtheirunannounced inspection of the East of England Ambulance Service.

The Care Quality Commission spoke to patients and whistleblowers and observed the ambulance control centre. Their report on the inspection will be published in early March.

Therese said: "It was a very important meeting with senior inspectors and concerns were expressed and exchanged. The Care Quality Commission have looked into the delays in rural response times and turnaround times at hospital and will be publishing their findings in early March."

She added: "This is not about criticising frontline staff or accusing the leadership of not doing their best for patients but it is important we get to the bottom of the issues. The number of MP's that attended the meeting today shows that it is a matter of huge concern and the Trust need to get a grip of performance."

Therese will be meeting with the Chairman and Interim Chief Executive of the Ambulance Trust on 14th March to discuss the content of the CQC's report.



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Thank you for visiting my website. It is my privilege to serve as your Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal. Please do get in touch using the contact form or email me (details below).

 

 

 

 

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Parliament: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, 

Call: 0207 219 7164

E-mail: therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk

Emails sent to Dr Coffey as a DEFRA Minister (and not from constituents) will not be processed. For DEFRA, email Dr Coffey via defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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