East of England Ambulance Service not hitting response time targets for life threatening calls
- Credit: Archant
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust is not hitting response time targets for life threatening calls, a report has revealed.
Statistics released by GMB, the union for ambulance staff, shows EEAST failed to meet expected national targets for the most serious incidents – Red 1 or Red 2 category A calls – between April 2013 to March 2014.
The calls relate to those where there is an immediately threat to life and require an emergency response with a target to arrive at patients within eight minutes in 75 per cent of cases.
The report shows that EEAST arrived for Red 1 calls within eight minutes 74.2 per cent of the time, compared to 73.6 per cent from June 2012 to March 2013. While Red 2 calls were responded to with a presence at the scene within eight minutes 69.4 per cent of the time, compared to 72.8 per cent the previous year.
EEAST chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh said: “We are aware that our response times are not what they should be and that is why we are working hard to improve our response times. One of the issues is that we simply do not have enough resources to cope with the increasing demand, and to help change this we’re recruiting 400 student paramedics and putting new ambulances out on the roads. Our staff are currently working extremely hard to deal with a high number of 999 calls and to provide patients with the best possible care.
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“We have already made offers of recruitment to around 360 people, and the first set of student paramedics are already out on the road responding to emergencies. We have also put 147 new ambulances across the region since the start of the year – with 120 more to follow by spring next year.”
Rehana Azam, GMB national officer for NHS staff, said: “The government has created the conditions which means the public are now having to wait longer for the ambulance service to respond to them.
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“Ambulance staff are having to work under these ever increasing demands. The reality is the downgrading of A&E’s or the closing down of A&E departments mean ambulance staff have to drive patients further.
“This then takes longer and with delays in handing patients over, getting back on the road is taking longer. Our ambulance service needs seriously targeted funds so that the public can be adequately protected.”