It will take two years to bring our local ambulance trust up to a good standard, Norfolk’s top ambulance boss has claimed.

Dr Anthony Marsh, Denise Burke, and Matt Broad

Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, Denise Burke from Act on Ambulances, and Matt Broad, the trust's general manager for Norfolk.

The new Chief Executive Dr Anthony Marsh was outlining his plans for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust at North Norfolk Labour Party’s Act on Ambulances meeting last night in Cromer – his first public speaking event since he took over the role in December.

Dr Marsh told the audience that the average ambulance response time for North Norfolk had fallen from 27 minutes for life-threatening emergencies to 18 minutes over the last three months, which he said showed signs of progress. However there was still work to be done, with the latest statistics showing that in February 2014 only 35pc of calls for the district were being met within the 8 minute target – well below the 75pc expectation of Trusts.

He explained that his first goal was to ensure safety of both patients and staff by investing in new vehicles, additional “home grown” paramedic staff, and more ambulance hours which would then lead to improvements in response times. He was critical of his predecessor’s attempts at rota redesigns, which had an over-reliance on Rapid Response Vehicles rather than Double Staffed Ambulances.

ambulance meetingDuring his Questions and Answers questions he took difficult questions on the state of A&E, the long-term situation for funding, and also the Trust’s contracts for private ambulances.

Dr Marsh said that he wanted to phase out the expensive contracts with private ambulance firms, but said he could not guarantee that they would not be involved in the future during bad spells in winter.

The event was chaired by Denise Burke, an Act on Ambulances campaigner and Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Norfolk. The constituency has the worst ambulance response times in the East of England.

See BBC Look East’s report from the meeting

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