Update from Anthony Marsh - 8th January 2015

Accident and emergency OPT

Firstly I hope you enjoyed some time over Christmas and the New Year with your friends and family. I would like to repeat my thanks and appreciation for everything you did to help improve our service in 2014 and wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

As I’m sure you will have seen, the pressure on the NHS is very much the focus nationally this week. Whilst a lot of coverage has been on hospitals declaring major incidents and waiting times for walk-in patients to A&E, the other side of this for us, handover delays, is having a real impact. During the week commencing 22nd December, we lost 1,241.23 hours in handover delays over 15 minutes which is the equivalent of 103 12-hour ambulance shifts.

Please be assured we are raising our concerns around these delays to our commissioners, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England. I am in contact with them almost every day to update them on how this is affecting us and how it is creating an increased risk for our patients. We also have a gold and silver command structure operating 24/7, who monitor activity during your shift in real time, and liaise with NHS colleagues to relieve pressure when and where needed. I know it is extremely frustrating to be held up at A&E departments when you could be responding to other patients in the community who need your help and I’d like to thank you for your patience and reassure you that we are doing everything we can to improve this situation for staff and patients.

However, we are coping better than other ambulance services, especially with the additional hundreds of frontline staff we have recruited during 2014. This has really helped us manage the extra demand and as more staff are recruited over the next few months it will relieve some of the pressure on you and help us provide a better service to patients.

Our 111 service in Norfolk was in the top 10 for performance in the country last week, out of 45 other services, which is an excellent achievement and I’d like to thank you for your efforts.  This is despite a 20% increase in calls on New Year’s Eve than the previous year. Our Norfolk out-of-hours service also saw an increase in demand, with a large number of people calling for repeat prescriptions. Thank you to both teams for helping maintain our service to patients, and for all those extra staff who came in at short notice to help out.

Anthony Marsh
Chief Executive Officer

Published 8th January 2015 

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