Last month the East of England Ambulance Service published its turnaround plan for ‘Delivering better services for our patients’. This report documents current problems with leadership, staff, clinical operational delivery and systems and processes.
In identifying where the service was consistently failing, the Trust has devised and published a turnaround plan which has a series of immediate proposals for change and some that are short term (within 6-12 months).
The most striking factor in this plan is the proposal that the Trust will now set about recruiting 350 posts including specialist paramedics, paramedics, technicians and emergency care assistants to help deal with the lack of front line resources.
The Trust’s Chairman met with six MPs from the East Anglia region in November 2012 who raised concerns over ambulance delays and the inconsistency of service levels in rural areas.
Sharon Allison is a medical injury lawyer at Ashton KCJ who is acting for the family of three month old Bella Hellings who died following an ambulance delay when she had stopped breathing. She says: “I do hope that the turnaround plan will be fully implemented with haste, however I have to say that I am a little sceptical on many levels.
Firstly, on the one hand the interim Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, has commented that the money is available to recruit the recommended 350 new posts. On the other hand, it has been well publicised that in the face of austerity measures, the Trust is being required to make a saving of £50m to its budget over five years.
If 350 more specialist medical staff are required to properly staff the service and the funds are available, it really does beg the question as to why these posts were not filled earlier? My other concern is, realistically, is it possible to recruit 350 specialist staff and ensure they are appropriately trained to undertake frontline work in our area in the timescale that is needed?
Amy Carter and Scott Hellings have many unanswered questions relating to the death of their daughter Bella which will be addressed at the Inquest into her death. However in light of the Ambulance Trust’s recent report it is little wonder that they may be asking themselves had the Trust employed the appropriate number of frontline staff in the first place to provide the service the East of England requires, would their daughter have been here today?”