New vehicle to improve ambulance response times to be trialled in Fakenham

Paramedic Duncan Saunders and his rapid response vehicle.
Photo: Bill Smith

A Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) is set to be trialled in Fakenham as part of efforts to improve ambulance response times in North Norfolk - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

A Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) is set to be trialled in Fakenham as part of efforts to improve ambulance response times in North Norfolk. 

The new CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has announced the 12-week trial in Fakenham which will start in mid-November.  

Dr Holliday said it was difficult to judge the effectiveness of steps to improve ambulance times in

A Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) is set to be trialled in Fakenham to compliment other ambulances in the area - Credit: EEAST

It will aim to identify if there is any demonstrable improvement in response times in North-West Norfolk and whether it improves patient outcomes for those in more rural areas. 

This comes as RRV staff across the trust’s region were assigned to Double-Staffed Ambulance (DSA) shifts to increase the number of vehicles with the capability to transport patients. 

The Cromer RRV has remained, but staff from the North Walsham RRV were permanently re-assigned to DSA rotas. 

This led to EEAST to consider whether an alternative location would be more beneficial than remaining in North Walsham. 

Chief executive of EEAST, Tom Abell said: “We understand their concerns about response times along the North Norfolk coastline and their call for us to invest more. 

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“There are a number of areas in the EEAST region which are both geographically remote, and also distant from their nearest A&E department. Providing swift responses to these areas with limited resources will always be challenging. 

“Having grown up in Norfolk myself, I am well aware of some of these issues. 

“We have retained the use of RRVs in the area and this trial will help us determine how to deliver the best service and the best outcomes for North Norfolk Residents.” 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker also welcomed the new trial.  

“Improving ambulance response times in the coastal areas around Wells and the particularly difficult to reach picturesque areas of North Norfolk has been a manifesto cause I have campaigned on ever since my election,” he said.  

“I am delighted that we have now not only saved the RRVs in North Norfolk but this trial will also focus specifically on improving the life chances in our most rural areas by speeding up our response times.” 

In July, North Norfolk district Council called for rapid response vehicles (RRVs) to stay in place, as the area continued to suffer from slow ambulance times. 

It came after a 2019 report revealed waiting times of over 20 minutes for ambulance responses in parts of North Norfolk. The slowest response time was reported in Wells

Since then, the North Norfolk Coastal Ambulance Response Times Working Party has been working with the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) on improving response times - which have been among the slowest in the country.