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.

20 FEB 2018

MPs Quiz Directors and NHS chiefs over Ambulance Service Performance

East of England Ambulance directors were in Parliament today at the request of Therese. The Chair, Chief Executive, and other directors were summoned to give an update to Regional MPs a month earlier than originally planned, following the recent winter period and the alarming reports about response time delays.

Last month, the Health Minister, Steve Barclay ordered a Risk Summit to review the performance of the service – and the Chief Executive Robert Morton set out set out his Action Plan in response to that. This included short-term leases for an additional 24 ambulances to get more vehicles out on the road and plans to recruit even more paramedics. NHS England has also worked with local Clinical Commissioning Groups for more funding to be put into the Ambulance service locally.

Therese said: "We had a good chance to quiz the Directors of the ambulance service on specific issues over the winter performance. There were some particularly concerning incidents over the winter period and as a result, a series of 60-day reviews are underway looking into each individual incident. It is absolutely imperative that those reviews are completed as quickly as possible so we can get answers and learnings from them."

"There are still major issues with hospital handover delays which need to be significantly improved. This is why I specifically invited NHS Improvement to the meeting today so they could hear first-hand the issues that the ambulance service is facing in trying to get crews back out on the road – and it was extremely important to escalate this to that level."

Therese added: "MPs agreed to ask the NHS Director responsible for the East of England, Paul Watson and Health Minister, Steve Barclay to meet us very quickly so we can accelerate solutions to issues that we know have been around for some time. Fundamentally though, despite some improvement being made, we need more improvement more quickly and the very top level of the NHS involved in making that happen."

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