Private help for ambulance service

AMBULANCE bosses in East Anglia admit they have been forced to turn to the private sector for support - but deny they are ever used for emergency calls.

AMBULANCE bosses in East Anglia admit they have been forced to turn to the private sector for support - but deny they are ever used for emergency calls.

Following a national survey carried out by a Sunday newspaper, it was claimed Britain's stretched ambulance trusts routinely turn to private companies or volunteers to answer emergency calls.

The East of England Ambulance Service said that it does rely on private companies to help with the delivery of patients in the region but does not use them for 999 calls, as has been seen in other parts of the company.

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Demand is higher than ever for the NHS ambulance services, and this utilisation of resources frees up more of our emergency crews to attend life-threatening or serious calls.

“We do not use them as an initial response to emergency 999 calls, and those who respond are qualified to recognised NHS standards, with organisations undergoing a thorough assessment before working in partnership with us.”