On Tuesday 26th April, Anna Firth, Member of Parliament for Southend West arranged a meeting to sort out the ambulance waiting times which have caused major disruption to many of her constituents.
Anna organised the meeting, which was attended by Tom Abell, Chief Executive at the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) and fellow Essex MPs: Mark Francois (Rayleigh & Wickford), Rebecca Harris (Castle Point) and John Baron (Basildon & Billericay).
They had a productive and wide-ranging discussion about what can be done to reduce the ambulance waiting times which have been causing significant delays since Christmas. Anna also raised the need to offer in-person GP appointments to all patients who want them and welcomed commitments as to what will be done going forwards to improve the quality of healthcare for people in Southend. The ambulance service promised significant improvements by the end of June.
There will be 13 additional ambulances serving the South Essex area; this comes in conjunction with 5 out of the 11 members of the executive team being replaced to create a new positive and more productive working culture and the recruitment of 111 additional staff to meet the needs of the South Essex area. Anna also secured a commitment from EEAST to provide 2 crews who will work in an expanded A&E department at Southend University Hospital. Anna will continue to work with EEAST and the Hospital to ensure that space is available for the expanded department.
Following the meeting, Rebecca Harris said:
“I was impressed when I first met the new Chief Executive Mr Abell at the Canvey Island ambulance station, he was prepared to get out the office and listen to the public and the staff on the front line. I am very encouraged by this recent meeting that he is taking active steps to improve the service for all our residents.”
“I am extremely glad to have held this meeting and voiced my constituent’s concerns about the health service in Southend and the much too long ambulance waiting times in particular. It’s great to have coordinated with other Essex MPs to speak to Mr Abell and see what we can actually do to get this sorted!
“Making Southend healthier is a top priority for me, and I am delighted to see some genuine changes being made which will absolutely achieve this goal, from more ambulances and staff to changes in the leadership of EEAST. We are so lucky to have such a brilliant hospital in our community but where it is letting people down, we must take action like we have done this morning – there can be no let up when it comes to people’s health.”