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Region’s ambulance trust to face questions from MPs on patient death allegations

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal

Representatives from the region’s ambulance service will face questions from MPs this month following allegations of patient deaths due to delays.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has arranged for the East of England Ambulance Trust to brief politicians in parliament on its recent performance and “turnaround plan”.

It comes as a whistleblower within the trust claimed that up to 80 patients died or were harmed due to delays over Christmas and New Year.

Dr Coffey said MPs will have the chance to “challenge” ambulance service leaders about the issues at the meeting on February 20.

She said: “As part of our ongoing scrutiny of the ambulance service and in light of the alarming reports of service for patients over the winter, I have brought forward our update meeting so MPs can challenge the leadership on their recent performance and their turnaround plan.

“I have also asked NHS Improvement to attend so we can establish how MPs can feed in to their monitoring regime.”
It is understood that a number of senior figures within the trust, including chief executive Robert Morton, will be attendance.

The meeting follows on from a risk summit held at the end of January between NHS executives to probe delays at the ambulance trust.

The summit, which was held behind closed-doors, was called for by health minister Stephen Barclay following allegations made by a senior whistleblower.

Those allegations included the case of 57-year-old Anthony Barnard, who allegedly froze to death after waiting 18 hours for an ambulance. Mr Barnard was found dead outside his home in Priors Close, Lowestoft, on December 28.

Further claims that up to 80 people could have been harmed or died due to delays over a three-week period were raised in the House of Commons by MPs. The risk summit meeting on January 30 resulted in an action plan being agreed, but no details have been revealed.

The ambulance trust last said of the claims: “We are aware of the claims made by MPs but note no complaints have been received from patients or their families at this time. Nor have any concerns been expressed internally through our line management, whistleblowing or freedom to speak up processes.”

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