North Norfolk Labour Party have accused the North Norfolk MP of double standards over the cuts to the ambulance service – on the day that he told the local media that he felt the funding for the ambulance services was adequate.
Mr Lamb has been attributed with fighting cuts to the ambulance service in north Norfolk and has previously said that he had “real anxiety” about plans to cut the ambulance service in North Walsham and Cromer, as well as resources at Fakenham. The East of England Ambulance Service Trust, however, has indicated that all possible measures have been taking to prevent cuts to the front line service, and that it was a last resort to reduce resources because of the £50m of government cuts over the next five years.
Today the North Norfolk MP said that there was “enough funding” in the ambulance service, despite the cuts expected to hit the service in the next few months.
The local Labour Party, which organised the Act on Ambulances petition, has claimed his position is “hypocritical” given his vote of support for cuts to the NHS and ambulance budget, and because his position is in the health department which are implementing the changes to the NHS.
Last month the outgoing Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, Hayden Newton, oversaw a u-turn on some of the cuts at Cromer and North Walsham after the NHS stepped in and provided £3 million to fund it. Mr Newton committed the Trust to review the remaining cuts in North Walsham on a monthly basis.
Denise Burke, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party, said:
“In this ambulance debate we have heard from Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb who both claim to have serious concerns about the cuts to the ambulance service, but in Westminster the two have voted to cut the NHS and ambulance budget which has led to fewer ambulances in Norfolk.
Norman now works in the health department which are implementing these cuts while the government spends £3bn on the new costly reforms of the NHS.
Rural response times are not adequate enough as it is and that is before Norfolk loses around seven double-staffed ambulances in the county. We need a better ambulance service – not fewer ambulances.”