Empty shifts on those extra ambulances

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Ambulance bosses are struggling to man the extra vehivces which have been commissioned to cope with demand.

Last month 15 extra ambulances were brought into service by the East of England Ambulance Trust which has come under fire for not meeting target response times.

The trust is struggling to man the new vehicles on a full time basis although it is recruiting 114 emergemcy care assistants and 25 paramedics who are due to start work by the end of March.

A spokesman said this week: “While the extra ambulances have all been delivered to their stations and are all operational we are finding it a real challenge at the moment to fill every shift because we are relient on staff overtime and support until our new recruits are on board.

“However we are very keen to see the vehicles operating at full-time capacity so are looking at all possible opportunities to make this happen as quickly as possible.”

The trust has also rolled out a car service in a move to prevent unecessary admission to A&E departments.

Four special cars are operating in Suffolk to attend 999 callers with less serious complaints who would not need hospital admission,

During the first 10 week trial in West Suffolk the ‘roving admission avoidance car’ saw 188 patients, Funding was provided from a winter pressure budget and bosses are evaluating whether this will be continued into 2013/14.