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Health Minister says Ambulance Trust back on track

Health Minister Dan Poulter has paid tribute to the work of the departing East of England Ambulance chief Dr Anthony Marsh.

Dr Marsh, who is also Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, took control of the trust in January in a bid to improve its response times. He came under heavy criticism for his £250,000 salary, but Suffolk MP Dan Poulter said he'd got the trust back on track.

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Phoenix Choir off to represent the UK in Las Vegas next year

A Choir made up with members from Cambridge, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire - and are off to represent the UK in Las Vegas next year.

Phoenix Choir have come a long way since they started with 6 members in 1978.

Sometimes referred to as Potton’s best kept secret, in their 36 year history Phoenix have consistently been in the top 5 choruses in the UK and are the current silver medal chorus in Region 31. And now they are off to Las Vegas.

Click below to watch nativity scenes from St Barnabas School in Wellingborough and a Christmas message from The Dean of Ely Cathedral who are accompanied by music from Phoenix Choir:

'Black Friday' lives up to its name as ambulance crews kept busy

An East of England Ambulance Service crew heads out in response to a call. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The region's ambulance trust dealt with more than 2,700 emergency calls last night as crews battled through what has been dubbed "Black Friday".

Emergency services had expected it to be a busy evening as many people headed out for festive celebrations on the final weekend before Christmas.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it saw a 7.5% increase on the average volume of daily calls over the last four weeks.

The trust's locality director Matt Broad urged people to think carefully before dialling 999.

“We were extremely busy yesterday and last night, but I would like to thank our staff in the control rooms and on the frontline who worked really hard to provide a good service to patients.

"The Christmas and winter period is always busy for the ambulance service and I would encourage anyone who needs medical help to choose well – if you need help but it is not an emergency please call 111, which is open 24 hours a day and who will be able to get the right help for you.”

– Matt Broad, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Emergency services braced for busiest weekend of the year

Emergency services are braced for what is expected to be the busiest weekend of the year as thousands of office parties take place.

Police and paramedics are putting on extra patrols in case things get out of hand.

A & E units are also drafting in more staff as already busy hospitals come under more pressure.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

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Ambulance crews prepare for 'Black Friday'

Ambulance crews gear up for 'Black Friday' Credit: ITV News Anglia

The number of calls to the East of England Ambulance service are up 11% compared to 2013 and that is before 'Black Friday' gets underway tonight.

Crews call the last Friday before Christmas 'Black Friday' as people make the most of what is for some, their last working day before Christmas.

There were 700 more callouts than average last Saturday and it's expected that figure will be exceeded tonight.

For special safety guidelines issued by the ambulance service. Click here.

New East Anglian ambulance chief sought

Anthony Marsh is to step down as interim Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust Credit: ITV News Anglia

The head of the East of England Ambulance Service is to step down in the coming months as the search for his sucessor begins less than a year after he started the job.

Anthony Marsh became interim Chief Executive of the Trust in January, tasked with improving ambulance response times. Also Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, he faced criticism over his quarter of a million pound salary.

His appointment was meant to last for up to two years, but the trust has already advertised for a replacement. Mr Marsh will stay until a successor is found.

Essex says cuts challenge will be tough

Essex County Council faces a £49m cut in government funding. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex County Council is facing the biggest cut in government funding in the Anglia region with nearly £49 million lopped off its budget.

Early assessments of the Local Government finance settlement, which sets out how much money each local authority will receive from the government in 2015/2016, indicate the Essex could be facing a cut of around 13 per cent on its funding.

“Every successive round of cuts makes the challenge harder. We have already secured so many efficiencies. We will continue to work creatively with our dedicated and innovative officers to find new solutions but make no mistake – it will be tough.”

– Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Finance, Essex County Council
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