Commenting on the news that the East of England Ambulance Service Trust downgraded thousands of 999 calls putting at risk patient safety, Denise Burke said:
“As it stands the summarised report raises more questions than answers on what is going on within our local ambulance service. Staff had concerns that lives were being put at risk a year ago, so why has it taken so long for this report to be published? Did the trust take any advice from the Department of Health or Health Ministers? What did Norman Lamb about the trust’s actions and when?
“It does not make clear who was responsible for authorising the alteration of 28 code sets in the first place and why? And if a Serious Incident had not been reported on 21 February 2014, how long could the downgrading of 21 codes carried on for?
“Fundamentally, 8,324 999 calls were affected by this deliberate but unauthorised changing of national codes. We don’t know from the summarised report what the impact was on all of those patients and we appeal to anyone who made a 999 call between 18 December 2013 and 22 February 2014 to contact us if they have any concerns about the service they received. The ambulance trust can’t play Russian roulette with people’s lives.
“It probably explains why Anthony Marsh is leaving the Trust earlier than expected and will pose questions for other ambulance services across the country as the crisis in our NHS grows.”
Denise Burke is an Act on Ambulances campaigner and Labour’s candidate for North Norfolk. She helped launch the Act on Ambulances campaign in 2012. For further comment email firstname.lastname@example.org