New East of England Ambulance Service board members

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An ambulance trust whose non-executive board members resigned following a damaging report about its performance has appointed two interim directors.

A number of MPs criticised the service's management following the report into the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAT).

Sheila Childerhouse and Frances Pennell-Buck will hold the non-executive posts for six months.

Interim chair Dr Geoff Harris said they were both "hugely experienced".

The service covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

It was criticised for almost two years over its poor response times, particularly in rural areas, before it was reviewed.

All five non-executive board members resigned "in the best interests of patients" in June.

'Fresh leadership'

Dr Harris described Ms Childerhouse and Ms Pennell-Buck as "two hugely experienced and successful non-executive directors" who would "help drive the service forward as we maintain a relentless focus on improving services to patients".

Tim Roberts, who represents ambulance workers through Unison, said the union "had been calling for a fresh leadership team for some time".

He added that Unison "broadly supported" interim chief executive Andrew Morgan's "expansive turnaround plan" but it would take "substantial investment of resources and some significant strategic leadership to repair the mess".

Ms Childerhouse has held various non-executive and chair roles on local and regional health bodies since 1984.

Most recently she was chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney and deputy chair of the East of England Development Agency.

Ms Pennell-Buck has worked in the public and private sectors, including non-executive roles in the NHS.

She is a specialist adviser for the UK Trade and Investment department on medical technology.

EEAT said it hoped to appoint permanent non-executive board members by the autumn.

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