Suffolk Coastal MP 'really concerned' about ambulance waits

Thérèse Coffey with ambulance

Thérèse Coffey MP has asked for a meeting with the East of England Ambulance Trust. - Credit: Archant/CHRIS McANDREW/UK PARLIAMENT

A Suffolk MP has asked to meet the ambulance service as she is "really concerned" by the increased waiting times patients are facing. 

Thérèse Coffey was motivated to raise the issue after she saw reports in this newspaper that the East of England Ambulance Trust is not meeting NHS targets

On average in December 2021, it took  61 minutes to reach patients in a serious condition, such as stroke or chest pain, when the target is 40 minutes.

Dr Coffey said: “I’m really concerned by the latest ambulance response time figures, particularly in relation to delays in getting to patients who have suffered a stroke.

"This is doubly disappointing considering the significant progress previously made to get to stroke patients quickly.

"I’m aware of the challenges but the new chief executive needs to a get a grip internally and with hospital handovers.

"I have asked for a meeting with the trust so East of England MPs can get some urgent answers.”

Tom Abell has officially taken up his post as chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST). 

Tom Abell, chief executive of - Credit: East of England Ambulance Service

Tom Abell, Chief Executive of EEAST was "very sorry" for the wait times for patients

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He added: “Demand for ambulance services has been very high across the country which, when combined with the impact of both increased staff sickness as a result of the Omicron Covid wave and handover delays at hospitals.

"Despite this, our teams across the East of England have been exceptional in doing everything they can to support patients and to reduce delays. 

"This includes steps we have taken to prioritise patients according to clinical need - so we get to those with life-threatening conditions quicker - and working with colleagues in hospitals across the region to reduce handover delays and get our people back on the road faster. 

"We have seen some early positive improvement, although we clearly have much more to do.

“I will continue to keep our MPs up to date with the progress we are making to improve response times through our programme of regular briefings."

EEAST also claims its reducing delays by placing Hospital Admissions Liaison Officers at acute trusts to facilitate handovers. 

And by supporting acute hospitals with cohorting areas where, at times of severe demand, patients can be assessed before going into the emergency department and using Intelligence Conveyance (IC), which uses data about ambulance arrivals.