East: Clegg On Ambulance Service

The Deputy Prime Minister says he 'understands local people's frustrations' with the East of England Ambulance Service.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the Chair of the Service, Maria Ball, resigned.

The resignation came after several critical reports about response times at the service.

The latest report, from the Care Quality Commission last week, suggested response times had got worse since its last inspection.

The service is currently being run by an interim Chair and an interim Chief Executive.

During a visit in Colchester earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I hope with the departure of the outgoing chair, a line can start to be drawn under the under-performance of the past, and a reliable, efficient ambulance service can be provided to people locally.

That's what people deserve."

Mr Clegg also said that the government will not be getting directly involved in the situation, adding: "The Ambulance Service that people have been putting up with simply isn't good enough and needs to improved.

But at the end of the day, this is a decision that has to be taken locally by those who govern the ambulance service - it's not something where you want the government jumping in with both feet, every time something goes wrong."

The Ambulance Service is now looking for a new chair, and has told Heart it's working on an improvement plan including recruiting more staff.

Further details about this improvement plan are expected next week.

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