Tacking ambulance response times in East Cleveland

Improving ambulance response times can make the difference between life and death. As your MP, I am keenly focused on this issue - especially in East Cleveland where population sparsity is a challenge.

Today I had a conference call with the Chief Executive of North East Ambulance Service to highlight the cases of some of my constituents who have been affected by unacceptable response times and to discuss plans for the future. Holding the service to account is a good way to help drive change.

The really good news is that NEAS is receiving an extra £10m between 2018 and 2022 to improve services. By this winter, there will be an extra FIVE double-crewed ambulances serving our constituency: three in Middlesbrough and two in Redcar & Cleveland. When you factor in the crews needed to operate those vehicles, that is dozens more ambulance specialists.

There is important work to be done improving turnaround at our region's hospitals. Both North Tees and James Cook do a really good job of releasing ambulances back into circulation from A&E, but hospitals like Durham need to do more as the ripple effects of ambulances spending more time dropping off than they need to can impact people in our area.

I've arranged to go on a visit with the Chief Executive this autumn to meet staff and learn more about the service. Our local ambulance stations are at Coulby Newham and Carlin How so we may well go there.

In the meantime, if you have thoughts or experiences (good or bad) you want to share with me, please email simon.clarke.mp@parliament.uk.