Ambulance Service

Waveney MP Peter Aldous has recently spent a night out with the Ambulance Service working from the Waveney Depot and has also met Dr Anthony Marsh, CEO of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, to go through the changes which he is instigating so as to provide a high quality service across the region. Mr Aldous last rode out with the Ambulance Service in December 2012 and in a subsequent letter to Dr Marsh he has set out his findings which can be summarised as follows:-
  • The Trust is moving in the right direction  in pursuit of its goal of providing a good quality service to the public not only in the Waveney area, but across the East of England
  • The investment in 147 new ambulances and in recruiting paramedics  is very much welcome, though as Dr. Marsh acknowledged it will be some time before these paramedics have been trained and the ambulances are all out on the road.  
  • In this interim period the existing staff will find themselves under much pressure.  It is important that they are provided with full support in meeting the challenges that they will face.
  • Mr. Aldous inspected one of the new ambulances at the Waveney Depot and it was immediately apparent that they will help the Trust provide an improved service.
  • Morale of front line staff would appear to have improved in the past 16 months with the recruitment of student paramedics having a positive impact, though it is important to continue to work to support staff and to fully them in implementing the Trust’s performance improvement action plan.  
  • It was clear that 111 calls are putting added pressure on the Ambulance Service and more work is required to ensure that this additional workload is shared fairly across the NHS.
  • It was readily apparent that Ambulance staff  face a variety of challenges in addressing the needs of patients who have mental health issues.  There is a need for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to work more closely with the Ambulance Service and the Police to improve this service, with particular regard being given to the provision of properly resourced Section 136 Places of Safety in mental health units. This is an issue which Mr Aldous has raised in Parliament with the Home Secretary.  
  • Good work is being done by Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) in Roving Admissions Avoidance Cars (RAACs) in attending to patients needs at home and avoiding unnecessary admissions to Accident and Emergency Departments at District and General Hospitals.  Peter understands that from the Waveney Depot approximately 60 people each month are being treated in this way.  This work helps relieve pressure at A & E.  
Peter Aldous concluded in the letter saying:- “Since my last trip out in late 2012, it was readily apparent that the Trust are providing an improved service, though it will take time before the new paramedics that are required have been recruited and trained and the much needed new ambulances are on the road. During this time, staff will be under considerable pressure and it is important that they are given full support as they strive to provide a proactive, prompt and professional service in often challenging conditions.”
In addition to the letter to Mr. Marsh, Mr. Aldous this week questioned the Home Secretary on the use of police stations as ‘places of safety’ under the Mental Health Act.  In Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Office, Theresa May MP, in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Aldous called on the Minister to outline what action the Government is taking to eliminate the use of police stations as Section 136 ‘places of safety’ in light of the Care Quality Commission’s recent mental health review. In particular, Aldous asked what representations the Minister was making to ensure that properly resourced and fully staffed places are provided in mental health units.
Chief Executive Dr Anthony Marsh said: “I was very pleased that Mr Aldous took  the time to visit the Trust and our staff to learn more about the improvements in the ambulance service. 
 “We are taking great strides in the Waveney area; we are getting to patients more quickly, we’re linking in with the clinical commissioning group better and have developed a strong relationship with the James Paget Hospital which has seen our hospital turnaround times improve dramatically. All of this links in to our regional priorities to put more ambulances and paramedics on the road caring for patients.
 “We had an excellent discussion of the challenges moving forward for the ambulance service and Mr Aldous was very supportive of the improvements that have been made so far. I look forward to continuing our joint working long into the future for the benefit of both staff and patients.”

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgery: 

Lowestoft, Thursday 18th April


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