Ambulance campaign in Haverhill hots up

New Town Mayor of Haverhill''Pictured: Deputy Mayor Maureen Byrne ENGANL00120130528231114
New Town Mayor of Haverhill''Pictured: Deputy Mayor Maureen Byrne ENGANL00120130528231114

A campaign to get Haverhill’s ambulance to stay in the town – and not go to 999 calls miles away – is gathering pace.

Haverhill councillor Maureen Byrne, who has been collecting evidence of ambulance waiting times in the town, says she is getting ready to present her case to the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) responsible for ambulance service funding.

She said: “I have several examples of people having to wait a very long time after dialing 999 and I am going to present my findings to a future meeting of the CCG.

“I know I am not alone in thinking Haverhill is not getting a good service, and there are many people who feel it needs to be improved.

“We want the Haverhill-based ambulance to stay in Haverhill. Quite regularly it goes on calls outside the area to Cambridge and to the other side of Colchester.”

Mrs Byrne complained to the East of England Ambulance Trust herself about ambulance waiting times when her husband suffered heart problems last year.

Haverhill and Kedington county councillor Tony Brown said he was “deeply concerned” about waiting times.

He said: “We want the Haverhill ambulance that is based in Camps Road to be tethered to Haverhill, meaning it stays in the town or a 20 mile radius. It ends up going all over the place – as far afield as Southend.

“We’ve had some bad experiences. In November up on the Parkway estate, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, a woman laid on the pavement for two hours before an ambulance arrived. Then it had come all the way from Harlow.”

But Mr Brown said he was hopeful the service would improve in future with £500,000 pledged for new ambulances and paramedics by West Suffolk CCG.

Simon King, general manager for East England Ambulance Service Trust said: “We have seen the time it takes to get an ambulance to patients improve. I would be very happy to meet with the councillor to understand exactly what her concerns are and to discuss how we are improving.”