A heath body has approved a one-off £570,000 grant to help overhaul the failing East of England Ambulance Service.
At a meeting last week, members of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group – a governing body made up of GPs and health professionals to oversee secondary care services – approved the investment.
The money will be spent on education, equipment and redundancies within the service, which has come under fire in recent years for slow response times, overuse of private ambulances and a lack of paramedics.
The funding will be subject to certain conditions, with 30 per cent of the money tied to specific targets.
“The ambulance service still has a considerable way to go in order to deliver a service fit for the East of England,” said Wendy Tankard, chief contracts officer for the CCG, in a statement prepared ahead of the meeting. “This is a key step in this improvement.
“Improving the management capability of the organisation and delivering an efficient service will also be vital to on-going sustainability.”
Mrs Tankard said that increasing the number of paramedics was central to the plans and would improve response times and patient care.
Redundancies from support services and management layers would, it was claimed, release up to £2 million in funding which could be reinvested in frontline services, employing 34 paramedics instead.
Also mentioned was the need to improve equipment which she said was “ageing and unreliable”.
Proposed improvements would include £1.9million of new equipment for the 120 replacement ambulances due to go into service over the next two years.
After the meeting, Mrs Tankard added: “The transformation business case for the East of England Ambulance Service has been approved by members of the NHS West Suffolk Commissioning Group, subject to agreeing a revised performance improvement plan with the trust.”