Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (22nd August 2013) expressed fresh concerns over local ambulance cash cuts, after receiving a letter from the Chief Executive of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).
Tom said: “Over recent weeks, I have been receiving expressions of concern from constituents over the increasing use of private and voluntary ambulances in response to 999 calls in this area.
“The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) wrote back to me on two of these incidents and in their reply, it became clear that central government funding cuts are eroding this blue light service.
“NEAS said – and I quote – “Each year we have discussions with our commissioners on the forecast number of incidents in the forthcoming year. The outcome of these discussions for 2013-14 were that commissioners felt it necessary to set our income on activity for the next 12 months at a level less than we were forecasting… So for 2013-14, we have been contracted to respond to 376,000 incidents, although we are forecasting activity at an estimated 415,000. This means that any incidents above 376,000 will be funded on a one-off basis rather than as recurrent annual income. These arrangements do not allow us to enhance our own workforce plan because the money for the additional activity will not be available next year to fund the extra salaries, overheads and vehicles we need to meet the extra demand.” “So there we have it. Our local ambulance service will see more cuts, more private and volunteer ambulances and possibly a less responsive service. And that is not a politician saying this – it is the Chief Operating Officer of the North East Ambulance Service. Once again, it shows that you can’t trust the Tories or the Liberals to preserve and fund the NHS.”