Emergency care in Diss is set for a huge boost with the arrival of a third double-staffed 24-hour ambulance after a long battle to keep two at the station, the Diss Express can reveal.
Staff and local managers are behind the moves to provide the extra cover instead of increasing car use to help reduce long delays and thus improve responses to patients in Norfolk.
Diss will go from two to three 24-hour ambulances, as well as keeping a 24-hour rapid response vehicle. The new arrangements are expected to start on March 1.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “Staff want to see patient care boosted and by recognising and acting on an opportunity for extra ambulance cover, it will help improve the way we respond to emergency calls in the area.
“It is a massive change in fortune for the station, based off Vinces Road, which faced losing one of its ambulances earlier last year.
Simon Morley, based at the Diss ambulance station, praised the arrival of new EEAST chief executive Anthony Marsh, describing the timescale of his arrival and the boost in resources as “refreshing” and “extraordinary.”
Dr Marsh began work as chief executive on January 1.
“I am chuffed to bits,” he said. “I am sure all of the staff and the local people are too. It is wonderful news we are finally heading in the right direction.
“I think we have a chief executive who is prepared to listen to what is going on.
“He (Dr Marsh) has been in post less than a month and change is happening as we speak.
“If you had told me a year ago we would be getting the changes that are coming in, I would have laughed. I would not have believed it possible.
“More patients will get a timely response and the right response.”
Last year a Clinical Capacity Review was conducted by Operational Research in Health, highlighting the shortcomings in the ambulance service, failing to meet targets and public demand.
It concluded that for 2014/15, 310 new staff- consisting mainly of paramedics- along with 38 ambulances and six cars would need to be added to the fleet across East Anglia.
By 2015/16 55 additional staff, eight ambulances and one car would be needed, while for 2016/17, a further 56 staff, four more ambulances and two cars are required.
Speaking at the time of the review, Mr Morley said: “It backs up what we have been saying all along.
“It is good the report has come out - it highlights our needs. At least it points in the direction of increases and not decreases, which is a good thing.”