Ambulance bosses say they will cope

AMBULANCE chiefs have today promised they will be able to cope with spending hours transferring emergency heart attack patients outside of Suffolk.

AMBULANCE chiefs have today promised they will be able to cope with spending hours transferring emergency heart attack patients outside of Suffolk.

Patients have expressed fears that the change will put extra pressure on the ambulance service, which earlier this year failed to hit targets for reaching dying patients quickly enough.

Last summer there was an outcry after an ambulance took nearly 30 minutes to reach a heart attack victim on Felixstowe seafront because all the area's ambulances were already out on emergency calls.

Daytripper Alfred Clark, of Clacton, died despite valiant efforts by paramedics to save him.

There are worries now that even less ambulances might be available if they are called away to specialist heart centres, taking several hours to travel there and back.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “The effect of tying up ambulances on long-distance trips across the region is an issue that does not seem to have been adequately addressed.”

Most Read

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “The ambulance trust has undertaken detailed service modelling of travel times which demonstrates that everyone suffering a heart attack within the East of England can be taken to one of the identified angioplasty centres within the clinically effective time.

“This has also taken into account the length of time an ambulance will be involved in treating heart attack patients.

“The additional resources in terms of ambulances and crews required across the East of England are now being discussed and they have already identified that funds will be available to compensate for the vehicles that are out of zone if this should be required.”

When asked what paramedics would do if ambulances got stuck in traffic on the region's notoriously bad roads the spokeswoman added: “It will be for the ambulance crews to decide on the basis of traffic and other conditions which centre they will take the patient to. If there are serious traffic issues then it will be possible to mobilise the air ambulance.”

She added that loved-ones would potentially be able to travel in ambulances with crews, but that they would need to make their own way home afterwards.