Royal approval for new ambulance centre

A NEW multi-million pound control centre for the region's ambulance service is to be officially opened later this week by Princess Anne.The £2.1m centre, which has been in operation since July, is equipped with state-of-the art computer and telephone technology which has dramatically improved response times.

A NEW multi-million pound control centre for the region's ambulance service is to be officially opened later this week by Princess Anne.

The £2.1m centre, which has been in operation since July, is equipped with state-of-the art computer and telephone technology which has dramatically improved response times.

Hi-tech caller identification equipment allows for a much quicker response to 999 calls.

As soon as a 999 call is made detailed maps appear on a computer screen showing the exact location of the call, meaning an ambulance can now be dispatched even quicker than before.

Based at the trust's headquarters in Norwich, the emergency control room integrates a number of vital services, which were previously all run separately in different locations.

It includes a major incident room, which was called into action during the 7/7 bombings in London, just a day after becoming operational.

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Staff based at the incident room were called upon to place ambulances in Essex, after the county's vehicles were called to the capital to support the London Ambulance Service.

The centre also houses controllers for GP out of hours services and the Patient Transport Services, which arranges transport for those with non-emergency hospital appointments.

NHS Direct also have nurse advisors based within the centre 24-hours a day to take calls for anyone wanting any advice about health services.

The trust's director of operations Rob Lawrence said: “The technology and the new environment allows us to dispatch vehicles within a matter of seconds.

“As a result response times are improving as we can mobilise vehicles quicker, which means more lives will be saved.

“Ambulance demand is increasing by 10pc each year, but we still have to hit our targets and this new centre will play a major role in helping us to achieve that.

“Having all the teams under one roof helps us to smoothly integrate all areas of our work to provide a cohesive service to patients.”

The official opening of the centre will take place tomorrow morning.

N Tell us about your experiences with the ambulance service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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