Ambulance boss to cross the pond

A SUFFOLK ambulance boss is today preparing for a life-changing move when he joins an emergency team in America.Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer in Suffolk for the East of England Ambulance Service, will start a new job as director of operations for Richmond Ambulance Authority in Virginia in July.

A SUFFOLK ambulance boss is today preparing for a life-changing move when he joins an emergency team in America.

Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer in Suffolk for the East of England Ambulance Service, will start a new job as director of operations for Richmond Ambulance Authority in Virginia in July.

After five years with the East of England Ambulance Trust, he is now looking forward to a new challenge, which will involve overseeing medical emergencies among Richmond's population of 250,000. This figure can swell to 1.2 million people during the day due to visitors, and with targets including attending 90 per cent of calls within eight minutes, the new post is expected to be demanding.

Mr Lawrence, 44, who now lives near Beccles, said: “The Richmond Ambulance Authority is one of the foremost emergency medical services. It is one of the world's best services and the chief executive and medical director are world class individuals.

“This is an opportunity that comes but once a lifetime. It has been a family decision and we have decided to take that jump across the pond.

“I look forward to a new challenge as it will be at the high end of emergency trauma. Paramedics over there are more experienced in gun wound and stabbings.”

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Mr Lawrence, who has worked for the East Anglian Ambulance Service since 2003, spotted the new post in a US-based ambulance publication in November and it has taken several months of applications, telephone and face to face interviews before the job was secured.

It will not be completely uncharted waters for Mr Lawrence, who has been to the site in Virginia previously on study posts as the trust has forged links with them.

His wife, Julie, who is originally from West Virginia, and his four sons are excited about the move.

He added: “The job here has been absolutely tremendous. It has been immense fun and professionally rewarding. The beauty of being in the ambulance service is that every day is different. I am surrounded by a superb team that will be missed but its links with Richmond service will remain.”

Are you making a life changing decision? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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