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Rise in funding to pay for extra ambulance staff in West Norfolk

Hundreds of extra ambulance staff and vehicles will be sought over the next three years in the East of England thanks to an increase in funding announced this week.

The consortium of 19 clinical commissioners in the region, which includes West Norfolk clinical commissioning group (CCG), have agreed a six-year contract with the ambulance service, following recommendations in a report.

Ambulance news (1985792)
Ambulance news (1985792)

It will see funding rise from the £213.5 million spent in 2017/18 to £225 million in 2018/19 to pay for the extra 330 staff and 160 ambulances.

Subject to activity remaining as predicted, it will then rise again to £240m in 2019/20. This follows increases in funding over the past two years.

Regulators NHS England and NHS Improvement instigated the report, called an independent service review, after talks last year with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and the consortium.

Deloitte and ORH, the report’s authors, were charged with looking at the operational and financial needs of the trust and to also support the development of a more sustainable contracting framework to commission the services.

Ed Garratt, chief officer for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, which is lead commissioner for the 19 CCGs which pay for EEAST services, said: “Everyone involved is determined to make the necessary lasting improvements to enable well-supported staff to deliver the very best urgent care services for patients.”

Robert Morton, EEAST chief executive, said: “This is an excellent step forward as we aim to ease the strain on our existing staff who work incredibly hard for patients.

“That strain has been evident particularly over the last few months, during the increased demand which winter pressures always brings to the NHS.

“We are committed to working with partners to improve services for patients, particularly in delivering more community care so they can stay in their own homes, where they want to be.”

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