Ambulance service needs £30million to consistently hit performance targets


- Credit: Archant

The ambulance service which covers Comet country needs more resources – costing up to £30 million a year – if it is to consistently achieve current national performance targets.

That is the conclusion of a review commissioned by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust to identify what resources the ambulance service needs to meet patient demands and targets across the region.

The trust’s board met last week to discuss the review, which concludes that there is a “substantial shortfall” between the resources available and the resources required to consistently achieve current national targets.

This is equivalent to at least 30 ambulances and seven rapid response vehicles and, in terms of vehicle hours per week, would mean a required increase of 5,250 ambulance hours and 1,204 rapid response vehicle hours.

It is estimated the additional resources required will cost in the region of £25m-£30m per year.

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The trust is looking at reducing back office and support service costs over three years by up to £20m and redirecting this money to the frontline. It is also looking at reducing staff mobilisation times, changing dispatch processes and reviewing all the locations of where ambulances are based.

The trust is also battling with a shortage of paramedics. Despite an extensive recruitment programme, it has been unable to fill all current vacancies.

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In September, the trust published Delivering better services for our patients – a document which outlines actions being taken to improve services.

It comes after various performance issues have been publicised over the last year – wide variations in performance across the region, efficiency and productivity issues, and lack of capacity. The review takes an in-depth look at these issues.

The trust’s chairman, Dr Geoffrey Harris, said: “Transforming our ambulance service is going to take time – possibly three to five years, but we have made a good start. We know the issues we have to address, we have a plan in place and we are making changes and seeing some early signs of improvement.”

Chief executive Andrew Morgan said: “The issues we faced were deeper and broader than anyone realised, but we are starting to make progress. Part of that is tackling sickness, as well as the downward trends in our longer response times.”

The review is available at

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