Ambo speeds put lives at risk: MP

LIVES could be put at risk in one Suffolk town where ambulances failed to hit 999 response time targets, a Suffolk MP has claimedMP David Ruffley, who represents the Bury St Edmunds Constituency, has spoken of his concern after obtaining figures from the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust.

LIVES could be put at risk in one Suffolk town where ambulances failed to hit 999 response time targets, a Suffolk MP has claimed

MP David Ruffley, who represents the Bury St Edmunds Constituency, has spoken of his concern after obtaining figures from the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust.

The statistics reveal that during May and June only 42% of 999 category A calls – to potentially life threatening emergencies – were reached within the eight minute target time in Needham Market.

The guideline is that 75% of ambulances should arrive within eight minutes to such emergencies.

Mr Ruffley said: "Something is going badly wrong when this community has such an unacceptably low response time. The whole East Anglian Ambulance Trust has made improvements, but the fact is there is this glaring example of under performance for emergency 999 call outs in Needham Market.

"Given this is one of the biggest communities in my constituency, I take exception to this. That 42% figure is miles away from the county average and completely inexplicable.

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"My concern is that residents lives could possibly be put at risk in a 999 situation. This is completely unacceptable and simply cannot be tolerated.''

But a spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Trust said that were looking into having a paramedic based at a GP surgery in Needham Market within the next few months who will be able to respond to those in need by car, helping improve the situation in the town.

The paramedic will also train some local people to use medical equipment as a first response.

He said that within Suffolk as a whole there were 3,950 category A call outs since April and 76% were reached in eight minutes. The trust must reach 75% on a countywide basis.

He said: "There are finite resources and there is always a challenge in rural areas to hit target. You can not have an ambulance in every village because it is such a rural area. We could achieve 75% in Suffolk in all the rural areas, but the cost would be astronomical and the NHS would never fund it.

"The trust is commissioned by all 17 primary care trusts in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to reach 75% category A calls in eight minutes per county. We are currently achieving that in all three counties, and did last year.''

The spokesman added that they have received three stars in the Government ratings, the highest possible.

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