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New spotlight on ambulance service

PUBLISHED: 01:00 01 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 March 2010

THE spotlight is once again to fall on our ambulance service, to see if it can improve on the service it gives to patients.

Independent inspectors from the Commission for Health Improvement, will visit the East Anglian Ambulance Trust in January, the Evening Star can reveal today.

THE spotlight is once again to fall on our ambulance service, to see if it can improve on the service it gives to patients.

Independent inspectors from the Commission for Health Improvement, will visit the East Anglian Ambulance Trust in January, the Evening Star can reveal today.

That will be almost three years after the Government last put the trust under the microscope, by holding a public inquiry into its failings in March 1999.

The CHI is visiting every NHS trust and health authority in England and speaking to patients to find ways to improve their care. Ipswich Hospital was one of the first to be selected this year, and now it is the turn of the ambulance service.

But ambulance chief executive Dr Chris Carney, who will announce the intended visit at tomorrow's trust board meeting in Norwich, said the team couldn't have scheduled their visit for a worse time.

They will arrive during busy winter months, shortly before British ambulance services must meet a new response time target – by April 2002, services must get to 75 per cent of life-threatening calls in eight minutes – and as staff are getting to grips with new technology.

He said: "Whilst we welcome the opportunity for the CHI visit, the timing could not be worse for the management team.

"We will have to accommodate this somehow within the management team, and it is critical that we are able to convey the work undertaken over the last two years within the trust, to them."

He added: "Although we welcome the CHI and its very necessary efforts to focus on trust performance from the patient's perspective, the timing of the visit it going to provide us with an enormous challenge managerially, at the same time as producing maximum effort for the achievement of the final modernisation programme, operational improvement and financial balance."

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