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East Anglia: Ambulance service concerns continue with new figures showing failings could have contributed to 60 deaths

18:10 07 January 2014

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Ambulance service failings may have contributed to almost 60 deaths in the region in the last three and a half years, according to new figures.

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A total of 155 serious incidents have been logged at the NHS trust since April 2010, of which 59 relate to unexpected or avoidable deaths .

The figures show there were 25 serious incidents (SI) across the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) area between April and December last year.

The figures also show there were 27 SIs across the six counties in 2010/11, of which 15 related to the deaths of patients.

During the 2011/12 financial year, the number of SIs jumped to 51, with 17 relating to the deaths of patients, and there were 52 serious incidents in 2012/13, of which 18 related to patient deaths.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, started his role as part-time CEO of EEAST last week.

His first day involved meeting and greeting staff in Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough.

Denise Burke, from the Act on Ambulances campaign, said the figures were “worrying” and highlighted the need for more front-line staff.

Commenting on the number of SIs, an EEAST spokesman said: “It is important to note that in these cases, patients already had a serious clinical condition and have passed away as a result of deterioration of this condition.

“In the majority of instances the death has occurred in an acute setting after conveyance and handover to hospital, in a number of instances days later. It is not possible to determine whether different actions of the trust would have prevented the death of the patient.”

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