- Updates for Friday, 27 October 2017
- Former post office could be 'refurbished and extended'
- New provider for patient transport services
- Appeal launched for new breast care centre
- Plans revealed to ease Orwell Bridge closure problems
- Speedway: Luckless Witches miss out on silverware
Unison has condemned the appointment of a private company to run the NHS patient transport service in Suffolk and parts of Norfolk.
The decision comes just weeks after Essex-based Private Ambulance Service, which operated in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, went bust, leaving patients stranded and staff unpaid.
Unison regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said it was "beyond belief" that the clinical commissioning groups, which handed out the contract, were prepared to take on a private firm, E-Zec Medical Transport.
In 2014 there were complaints about the service provided by E-Zec in Dorset. At the time it said it was striving to make improvements.
Mr Jenkinson said: "The private sector has shown time after time that it is incapable of running NHS services.
"We cannot continue having our vital public services handed over to the lowest cost bidder in the hope they won't mess it up."
Wayne Spedding, operations director at E-Zec, said the contract showed "our service quality is being noticed in other parts of the country", adding it was the "largest and most consistent private ambulance service in the UK".
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ipswich and East Suffolk, West Suffolk, and Great Yarmouth and Waveney clinical commissioning groups, said the process to appoint a new provider had been "rigorous and in-depth".
BBC Look East weather
Tonight will be fine and dry with long clear spells.
With temperatures falling as low as 3C (37F), a touch of ground frost is possible in rural areas.
After a chilly start, Saturday will be fine and dry with some sunny spells.
Cloud will thicken from the north, with some outbreaks of rain and drizzle during the night.
The temperature is expected to climb to about 15C (59F).Copyright: BBC
Sunday will be mostly dry, with an odd shower likely in eastern parts of the region.
It'll feel colder, with temperatures reaching 13C (55F).
There's likely to be a widespread frost on Sunday night, with temperatures falling as low as -2C (28F) in some areas.
BBC Weather has more.
Non-emergency ambulance services in Suffolk and parts of Norfolk are going to be run by a new operator.Copyright: BBC
The service, currently run by the region's NHS ambulance trust, will be taken over by E-zec Medical Transport in April next year.
Health bosses signed a five-year contract with the firm to transport patients who have a medical condition which means they cannot use any other transport without risking their health.
Existing staff at the East of England Ambulance Service say they are concerned about their future, but have been told they will be supported by unions during the change.
A campaign to save an historic village pub has reached a big milestone after the building's purchase was agreed in principle.Copyright: Diss Express
The building that used to house the main post office in Bury St Edmunds is set to have a new owner.
St Edmundsbury Council says it is "close to completing" its purchase.Copyright: BBC
The leader of St Edmundsbury, John Griffiths, said: "While the building is sited within the historic town conservation area, ownership could unlock short term and longer term opportunities to make the area, including Market Thoroughfare, more attractive and further boost the offer of the town.
"Once completed, the borough council will look over the coming months at various options including to refurbish and extend the former post office building, using the existing structure."
When plans for the Arc shopping development, which is behind the post office, were first revealed, it had been hoped a wide thoroughfare would link it with the historic part of the town, but the idea was dropped when it proved too expensive.
The council says the purchase price of the building is £1.6m.
BBC Radio Suffolk sportCopyright: Getty Images
"Hopefully we don't make as many mistakes as we did last Saturday," said Leiston manager Glenn Driver.
"They're a good side and this is a difficult game, because when you've been beaten 5-1 sometimes you can be over enthusiastic to try to get revenge, but we'll set up a system to go out and get us a result."
BBC Radio Suffolk sport
Ipswich Town defender Adam Webster believes the club's strikers give them a chance of beating any team in the Championship.Copyright: Getty Images
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's trip to Burton Albion, the 22-year-old's been waxing lyrical about Martyn Waghorn (pictured), Joe Garner and David McGoldrick, who've got 16 goals between them so far this season.
"The boys up the top are such a threat," Webster told me. "I'm glad that we've got them on our team, especially Garns, Waggy and Didzy. They're up there with the best in the league.
"I train with them each day and it definitely helps improve me as a player."
We reported earlier there had been an increase in complaints from passengers using Greater Anglia.
Figures from the Office of Rail and Road show a rise of 17% in complaints in the first quarter of 2017-18, compared to the same period last year, with 58 complaints per 100,000 passenger journeys.
The highest proportion of the complaints, 25%, was about delay compensation.
Greater Anglia said where passengers had been let down it needed to "compensate them properly, fairly and appropriately".Copyright: BBC
BBC Radio Suffolk political reporter
The possibility of some vehicles being allowed to cross the Orwell Bridge in future when there are high winds was one of a number of updated Highways England plans revealed at a meeting last night of Ipswich Borough Council.Copyright: BBC
Insp Timothy Lusher, from Suffolk Police, said: "It would potentially allow classes of vehicles to pass over the bridge if the wind speeds allowed that and thereby reducing the volume of traffic going through Ipswich, but I think that's a big piece of work for Highways [England] to lead on, but I know they're looking at it."
On the subject of diversions when the bridge is closed, Insp Lusher said: "It's difficult because of the logistics of where the town is sited, next door to the bridge.
"It's not an easy solution, but I think again we should be heartened that Highways with their partners are looking it and they're looking at every opportunity to try and resolve the problem."
BBC Radio Suffolk sport
Ipswich Witches rider Cameron Heeps believes there are plenty positives to take out of this season, despite it ultimately ending in disappointment.Copyright: BBC
Last night's 45-45 draw with Peterborough Panthers at Foxhall meant the Witches lost the Championship Knockout Cup Final 92-88 on aggregate.
"We can hold our heads up high because all year we've put 110% in and there was never a lack of effort," he told BBC Suffolk Sport.
"It just wasn't to be I guess, with injury after injury. We can go away and know that we put everything we could into it."
BBC Radio Suffolk sportCopyright: BBC
At the end of a season which has seen so many riders miss meetings, this time it was Ipswich captain Danny King who crashed out in heat six, breaking a wrist.
Although the match ended 45-45 against Peterborough, the Panthers take the trophy after their 47-43 victory in the first leg.
"Gutted, I've never wanted anything so badly in my life," said Cameron Heeps, who top scored for the Witches with paid-14.
"I've enjoyed this year so much and it's been such a pleasure riding with these lads.
"Us riders wanted something to take to the dinner dance for these fans who've been behind us all year. We did the best we could, but it just wasn't enough."
Greater Anglia admits it needs to "keep on" improving performance, as figures from the Office of Rail and Road reveal a rise in passenger complaints.
On average, people are twice as likely to complain about Abellio-owned Greater Anglia than other operators in England.Copyright: BBC
Spokesman for Greater Anglia, Jonathan Denby, said: "What we need to keep on doing [is] further improving performance, making it better, and in those places where we let people down for whatever reason... then we compensate them properly, fairly and appropriately for the service they've not had."
We'll take a closer look at the figures and bring you more on those a little later, but in the meantime, if you've got an opinion on the story, share it with us via the "Get involved" link at the top of this page.
BBC Local Live
An appeal is under way to raise money for a dedicated breast care centre at Ipswich Hospital.
If the Blossom Appeal raises the £2.5m it needs, a centre housing everything under one roof will be created.Copyright: BBC
The centre is the brainchild of consultant surgeon Caroline Mortimer (pictured), who's been at Ipswich Hospital for nearly 17 years.
"Patients currently have to visit three separate locations for breast care at the hospital," she explained.
"Our appeal is fundamentally about creating enough space to be able to run clinics for dedicated groups of patients."
The centre would also provide dedicated clinics for men and young people.
Head of charity and fundraising at Ipswich Hospital, Mandy Jordan, said: "We can't do this without the support of the local community.
"We need everyone to get involved and support the breast team."Copyright: Ipswich Hospital
After a chilly start, any early mist patches will clear to leave a mostly dry and sunny day, feeling pleasant in light winds.
However, the odd light shower is still possible along the coast during the morning.
Top temperature: 14C (57F).Copyright: BBC
Remaining dry overnight with clear spells and light winds, although it will become chilly, with a grass frost forming in some rural parts and local fog patches.
Lows of 6C (43F).
Get a more detailed forecast for wherever you live, from BBC Weather.
BBC Look East weather
Cloudy this evening with some patchy drizzle across the BBC East region.
Clear spells inland bringing temperatures down to 5C (41F), but coastal cloud will hold the temperatures to a low of 11C (52F).
Friday will see a few light showers in north east Norfolk, and elsewhere will stay fine with bright or sunny spells, but feeling colder with highs of 14C (57F) in moderate to light north and north westerly winds.
For a more detailed forecast where you are, visit BBC Weather.
BBC Radio Suffolk
Ipswich Town are likely to be without midfielder Tom Adeyemi for Saturday's game at Burton Albion.
The Blues will be looking for their first win in four games.
Nigel Clough’s Burton team are third from bottom in the Championship.
Adeyemi is only new injury worry for Town manager Mick McCarthy, who admits he’ll be missed.
"We knew before the Norwich game that he'd been off for three weeks, came back, had three weeks training, was very good, but he's felt his hamstring again which is really sad because he did very well," he said.
"He does make a difference and the lads think he makes a difference, so we'll have to wait and see."
It’s been a frustrating season for the 26-year-old.
He's only played five times for the Blues, and Sunday’s game against Norwich was the first time he’d taken to the pitch since September’s 5-2 win over Sunderland at Portman Road.
Police are appealing for witnesses to a collision between a car and a motorcyclist.
It happened shortly before midday, in Summer Road, Hepworth.
The male motorcyclist sustained injuries and has been taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital.
Summer Road and Clay Lane were closed at the junctino of the A143 following the collision, but have now reopened.
A Halesworth man has pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Andrew Saunders, 50, of Swan Close, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in connection with the death of Shane Lay, 42, from Loddon Street, Broome.
Mr Saunders was walking his dog in Bridge Street, Bungay in the early hours of Friday, 12 May, 2016 when he was hit by a car which failed to stop.
He died in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge the following day.
The trial has been set for 21 May 2018.