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Matthew Hancock
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24-Hour cover at last

Thursday, 13th April 2000.

Twenty-Four hour ambulance cover seven days a week is due to be restored to Haverhill in late May or early June, once new rotas are agreed with staff.
Frank Harradence, the East Anglian Ambulance Trust's county commander for Suffolk, said informal consultations had already begun with staff and the idea had been reasonably well received so far.
A storm of protest greeted the decision around two and a half years ago to remove night cover from Haverhill, where there was previously a five year campaign for a second emergency ambulance. After a petition with some 15,000 signatures was gathered the trust promised the hours would be restored, but this has not happened yet.
This week Mr Harradence said new team working rotas to be introduced across the county would definitely mean Haverhill got its hours back.
The xtra hours which has been overlay hours to be worked when possible, would now be designated hours to be worked at Haverhill.
Mr Harradence said no extra hours of cover were being provided for Suffolk as a whole, but the Haverhill hours were being provided by adjusting cover elsewhere. Interviews for team leaders were taking place this week and once they had been appointed the types of shifts to be worked by staff will be negotiated. Rotas were also being adjusted to provide extra night cover across the county.
"Public confidence is important, but the main reason for this is to make best use of the hours we have got at the optimum time where they are needed most. It was common sense to put back the night cover in Haverhill when we were doing this, Haverhill is abusy area," said Mr Harradence.
Paramedic Bob Tuck, who has covered Haverhill on a sixth-month pilot scheme, has said he does not wish to continue , although the scheme has been extended for three months.
Mr Harradence said a successor for the role was being sought. Although the trial had been very successful and would continue in the county, this might not necessarily be based in Haverhill after the three months.
Former councillor Colin Jones said he would welcome the restoration of the hours if it happened.
"The people of Haverhill have been put through the wringer by the Ambulance Trust and they have made promises before which have been broken. The trust has got to climb Everest to regain people's confidence, "Mr Jones said.

Haverhill Weekly News

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