Norfolk

Roger Lloyd Pack criticises Norfolk ambulance cuts plan

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Media captionRoger Lloyd Pack said "even considering" reducing the number of ambulances was "shocking"

Actor Roger Lloyd Pack has criticised plans to cut ambulances in Norfolk amid claims he was told to wait four hours for one while "seriously ill".

The 68 year old, who played Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, was eventually driven to hospital by his wife after contracting an infection.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has said it could remove two ambulances from north Norfolk.

It said Mr Lloyd Pack's case was not considered an emergency.

Under wider plans to save £50m, full-time ambulances could be removed in Cromer and North Walsham, which EEAS said was a bid to match services to demand and not to cut services overall.

Mr Lloyd Pack said he was "appalled" at the proposals.

'Deteriorated very quickly'

"It's shocking that they're even considering reducing the number of ambulances when they should be increasing them," he added.

He said his condition "deteriorated very quickly" after speaking to an out-of-hours doctor at his home in the Fakenham area.

His wife Jan drove him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a journey of about 25 miles.

"I couldn't possibly have driven myself," said Mr Lloyd Pack.

"One of the doctors at the hospital told me 'if I hadn't have gone in when I did', and she sort of left the sentence hanging.

"I didn't really want to ask her what she meant, whether she thought I'd have to have my gall bladder removed, or kidney dialysis or whether I would have died.

"It was important I got to the hospital... four hours is too long to wait in that situation."

'Hold to account'

In May, CQC said the ambulance service had "not met some of its key performance targets in relation to response times", but had taken "satisfactory measures to address the shortfalls".

The East of England Ambulance Service said in Cromer one of its two full-time ambulances would become part-time and North Walsham would get a rapid response vehicle instead of its ambulance.

North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said: "I've had a number of people contact me expressing concerns about delays.

"For years now the response times in rural Norfolk have not been good enough.

"They have told there is a whole programme of steps they are taking which they claim should deliver significant improvements in response times by the autumn

"I want to hold them to account on that. "

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