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Troubled ambulance trust gets new interim chair

Sarah Boulton is the new interim chair of the East of England Ambulance Service Credit: NHS

The East of England Ambulance Trust, under fire recently for poor management and slow response times, has appointed its third chairperson in the past year.

Sarah Boulton replaces Dr Geoffrey Harris as interim chair of the NHS Trust which runs the emergency service in Cambs, Beds, Essex, Herts, Norfolk and Suffolk. Maria Ball resigned as trust chair in March 2013 following criticism from MPs and the Care Quality Commission.

Sarah Boulton has worked a NHS board level for a number of years.

She said: "This is a great opportunity to be part of the team to improve the service. This is going to take time but having met with new Chief Executive, I am pleased with the actions which have already been put in place and the progress being made."

East of England Ambulance Service to take on 120 new vehicles in bid to cut delays

The East of England Ambulance Service is to take delivery of 120 new vehicles.
The East of England Ambulance Service is to take delivery of 120 new vehicles. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The East of England Ambulance Service, criticised over poor response times, is to take delivery of 120 new vehicles.

The first will go into service in Norfolk, where cover has been described as poor by health watchdogs.

The aim is to have no ambulances over five years old.

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Pilot had heart attack while flying microlight

The East of England Ambulance Service described the pilot as "incredibly lucky". Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A pilot had a heart attack as he flew a microlight plane over Suffolk at the weekend.

The man, who is thought to be in his 60s, started to get chest pains while in the air on Saturday but managed to land the aircraft safely at an airfield near Newmarket at about 1.45pm.

An ambulance was called and, although the pilot went into cardiac arrest while receiving treatment, paramedics were able to get his heart beating normal again.

Dale Boustead, a paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service, said: "We took him to West Suffolk General for further treatment and I was able to visit him in hospital yesterday.

"He is doing incredibly well, already sitting up and talking to his family which is quite unusual for the day after a cardiac arrest."

The air ambulance also attended.

Ambulance Trust chairman resigns

The interim chairman of the East Anglian Ambulance Trust has resigned early.

Dr Geoffrey Harris was brought in to turn round the leadership of the trust after it failed to meet targets for getting to emergencies on time.

In a statement, he said much work remained to be done but that the trust now had the right chief executive and was making improvements.

Work will now begin to recruit a new chairman.

Norfolk MP Norman Lamb laments ambulance response times in rural areas

by Malcolm Robertson

A Government minister has called for a shake-up in ambulance response targets in rural areas following the death of a young chef in Norfolk.

It took two hours for an ambulance to get to 26-year-old Peter Nelson who had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

His local MP has described it as completely unacceptable and wants an urgent review of the time it takes paramedics to reach urgent cases.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson

Read more: Health Minister targets response times shake-up after death of Norfolk chef

Health Minister Norman Lamb targets response times shake-up after death of Norfolk chef

Norman Lamb says that rural areas are being neglected.
Norman Lamb says that rural areas are being neglected. Credit: PA

A health minister and Norfolk MP has called for a major shake-up of response times after yet another story emerged of alleged delays by the East of England Ambulance Service.

26-year-old chef Peter Nelson died after collapsing at his home in Blakeney, in North Norfolk, after waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance.

Norman Lamb, who's the minister in charge of care and support, said rural areas were being neglected as trusts focused on meeting easier urban response-time targets.

"We need to re-think these targets because they distort behaviour," he said.

"I don't have a complete blueprint for the answer but I'm clear there is a massive risk that the current system is distorting clinical priorities and rural patients are suffering as a result."

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Ambulance crews ready for 'busy' New Year

Ambulance
The East of England Ambulance service is expecting New Year's Eve to be busy Credit: PA

The East of England ambulance service is asking people to think twice before dialling 999 on New Year's Eve.

It is expecting New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to be its busiest time and is asking people to make sure it really is an emergency before calling the service.

Although the Christmas period was quieter than last year, the service took 40 more calls on Christmas day than in 2012.

For winter health advice visit the East of England Ambulance service website.

Busy Christmas for ambulance service

The region's ambulance service had a busy Christmas day, taking more than 2,700 emergency calls.

That's a hike of around 300 calls compared to an average day, and 40 more than last Christmas.

The East of England Ambulance Service said calls ranged from chest pains and choking, to assaults and births.

Just over 1,200 patients were taken to hospital. They're expecting New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to even busier.

However, there was a decrease of about 360 calls over the three days of the Christmas period compared to 2012.

Whilst it’s encouraging we’ve seen a slight decrease in the number of calls compared to the same period last year, we’re still seeing an increase each Christmas Day.

Our staff are working as hard as ever over the period and I’m proud of all those who have been carrying out lifesaving work for the Trust over the past few days.

From our call handlers, to the crews out on the roads, and everyone else - I’d like to say a huge thank you to them all.

– Rob Ashford, Acting Director of Service Delivery
  • Total 999 calls on Christmas Day - 2,717
  • People taken to hospital by EEAST on Christmas Day - 1,241
  • Total calls from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day - 7,813

Ambulance service withdraws foundation trust application

The East of England Ambulance Service is to withdraw its application to become a foundation trust. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The troubled East of England Ambulance service has decided to withdraw its current foundation trust application while it works to make major improvements.

The announcement was made at today's board meeting.

The trust said it would not attempt to re-apply until "sustainable improvements have been made to the service patients receive".

Chairman Geoffrey Harris added: "I am focused on patients and improving our service to them.

"Transforming our services and becoming a high-performing organisation will take time, but it is the most important challenge to address."

In December 2012, health watchdog Monitor deferred an application by the service to become a foundation trust for 12 months over concerns about its failure to meet response-time targets.

Foundation trust status means decision-making powers are passed from central government to a trust's governors and members.

Another director quits at East of England Ambulance Trust

Neil Storey has resigned as the Director of Emergency Operations at the East of England Ambulance Service Credit: East of England Ambulance Service

A sixth director has quit the beleaguered East of England Ambulance Service.

The Director of Emergency Operations Neil Storey has left after 14 years with the ambulance trust.

Mr Storey is the latest director to resign after sustained criticism of the East of England Ambulance Trust by regulators and politicians over slow response times in rural areas and poor leadership.

Five non-executive directors resigned from the Trust in June.

The Trust said he was "taking the opportunity to move onto pastures new whilst a directorate restructure takes place internally."

Chief Executive Andrew Morgan said: “I would like to personally thank Neil for his absolute commitment and dedication to the ambulance service over the last 14 years.”

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