Ambulance service backs A11 dualling

Ambulance chiefs last night backed a campaign to dual fully the A11, which they say will help save lives and reduce emergency response times.The East of England Ambulance Service was criticised by health chiefs in Norfolk last month for failing to meet its targets to respond to life-threatening 999 calls within eight minutes.

Ambulance chiefs last night backed a campaign to dual fully the A11, which they say will help save lives and reduce emergency response times.

The East of England Ambulance Service was criticised by health chiefs in Norfolk last month for failing to meet its targets to respond to life-threatening 999 calls within eight minutes.

Officials from the NHS Trust yesterday backed a petition calling on the government to dual the A11 as soon as possible, which will quicken emergency responses and reduce the pressure on resources.

The ambulance service, which has a station at the Barton Mills Fiveways roundabout, has to deploy a greater number of ambulances and response cars in the Thetford, Mildenhall and Newmarket areas to compensate for delays caused by the last single- carriageway stretch of the A road.


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Marcus Bailey, general manager of the accident and emergency service in Suffolk, said a fully-dualled road between Thetford and Barton Mills would make a huge difference to the service and would also reduce the number of callouts for the air ambulance.

“Geographically, it is only a nine-mile stretch of road, but it makes a great difference if you are travelling down a dual carriageway at 70mph when in reality you are going 20 to 30mph. For every minute that goes by in a cardiac arrest case, the chances of survival decrease by 10pc. It is only one patient group, but that is a great example where time makes a difference,” he said.

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Mr Bailey backed the A11 petition, which comes to a close tomorrow, and has so far attracted more than 11,000 signatures.

“Dualling the A11 will reduce accidents on that stretch of road, will improve response times in emergency incidents and we can undertake hospital transfers in a more timely manner,” he said.

The support from the ambulance service comes as campaigners called on Geoff Hoon to make the £135m A11 upgrade one of his first jobs as transport minister.

The leader of Norfolk County Council, which is coordinating the public petition calling on the government to start work on the “missing link” of the trunk road in 2010, yesterday sent a fresh letter to the Department for Transport asking for a meeting with Mr Hoon.

Officials will be gathering some last- minute signatures at Tesco in Thetford tomorrow and the petition can also be signed at the Times office, Norfolk and Suffolk libraries and Norwich Bus Station.

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