Ambulance Trust will improve - pledge

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust chairman Geoff Harris announcing the trust's recovery plan
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust chairman Geoff Harris announcing the trust's recovery plan
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The East of England Ambulance Service which has been under fire for poor perfpormance this week brought out its action plan to remedy too few front line staff and delays in response times.

Rural areas in Suffolk have often had slower response times than national requirements and MPs have taken the organisation to task.

On Wednesday the trust pledged it would invest £20million in recruiting 260 paramedics and 112 emergency care attendants.

This is the equivalent of providing another 31 round the clock double staffed ambulances.

These extra numbers are on top of the original 82 specialist paramedics and 149 paramedics pledged in the trust’s Turnaround Plan earlier this year by interim chief executive Andrew Morgan.

It is also aiming to save £1million a month by the temporary use of clinically trained managers to support and produce more double staffed ambulance hours.

The trust also aims to cut its sickness rate to 5.5per cent and increase productivity.

It will also create a new employee deal, creating a workforce plan for all staff.

Financially the trust is pledging to finish this year with a £3.1million surplus, saving £4.2million by reviewing all vacancies and reviewing pay to make sure there are no duplications of roles - this aims to save £10million.

It will also negotiate with the commissioning organisations on 111 out of hours contracts to achive increased income to cover costs or an appropriate ‘exit’ position.

It also aims to manage crew times at hospitals to reduce waiting times for transferring patients from ambulance care to hospital care.

This would involve creating joint turnaround agreements, applying financial penalties for delays and creating a ‘pit stop’ for cleaning and re-stocking vehicles.

The trust will also carry out a regular staff survey and engage with new HealthWatch organisations.

There are also targets to improve response times.

Currently the emergency response times of within eight minutes are at 76 per cent with a forecast to reach 78 per cent by the end of the year.

Nationally ambulances are expected to reach all calls within 19 minutes and the target for this is to rise from 94.1 percent to 95 per cent.

The plan has been drawn up following recomendations from the independent governance review, Care Quality Commission and the trust’s turnaround plan.

Chief Executive Andrew Morgan said: “There are some early signs of improvements but the plan highlights that changing the organisation will take considerable time. More work is needed to improve response times and service delivery as demand rises.”