East of England Ambulance to spend £16.3m on vehicles

Ambulances parked outside Norfolk and Norwich Hospital East of England Ambulance Service said it had let both patients and staff down

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An ambulance service, criticised for failing to meet response targets, is to spend £16,3m on upgrading its fleet.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is investing £14m in new emergency ambulances and £2.3m in its response car fleet.

The vehicles will replace 145 A&E ambulances and 110 response cars by the end of June 2014.

"We anticipate 50 of the new ambulances will be in service before Christmas," Director Paul Henry said.

"A further 47 coming into service during March 2014. The remaining 48 ambulances are expected to come into service between May and June 2014."

EEAST provides ambulance services in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The ambulance service has revealed plans to recruit more than 350 employees to improve patient care and staff morale.

The trust was ordered to improve by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after its response times deteriorated.

In reply, the trust admitted it was letting both patients and staff down.

The trust said it planned to recruit 82 specialist paramedics, 149 paramedics, 24 emergency medical technicians and 96 emergency care assistants.

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