Ambulance given good marks
EAST Anglian Ambulance service are getting things right according to a Health Which? report.The investigation into ambulance services around the country showed that most services are providing an unacceptably poor service to their patients.
By Jessica Nicholls
EAST Anglian Ambulance service are getting things right according to a Health Which? report.
The investigation into ambulance services around the country showed that most services are providing an unacceptably poor service to their patients.
Response times were just one of the things highlighted and the fact that eight minutes can mean different things to different trusts with some taking longer than ten minutes in reality.
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But East Anglia was hailed as one of the successes in the country for taking on the new system status management.
The report said: "The most telling evidence that many trusts are underperforming is that some get it right.
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"At least two trusts in England have completely revamped their operation – Staffordshire seven years ago and more recently East Anglia."
Response times in East Anglia went right down in mid 2001 when the system was introduced and while at the beginning of the year only around 58 per cent of Category A calls (usually cardiac arrest) were reached within eight minutes, by the end of the year the 75 per cent target from the Department of Health were being reached.
Rob Mason is assistant director of operations (distribution) at the Trust. He said the new system was all about having ambulances in the right place at the right time.
Data taking into account things like time of day, geography and seasons is used to be able to forecast when and where the ambulances are more likely to be needed.
He said that establishing the new system was difficult to try and gain staff trust that it would work, but response times are far better than they were.
Also highlighted in the Which? report was the fact that response times could often be different depending on when the clock was started for ambulances to get to a patient meaning that clock times could be so inconsistent that it could not compare them between trusts.
Guidelines say that it should start within one minute of the call being taken.
Mr Mason said that under the new system, their clocks automatically start after one minute if they have not already been pushed, meaning their times are as accurate as possible.
He said: "We have one minute to get an address and find out what we are going to.
"Some trusts though do spend more time sorting out problems with some callers before they push the button and this can take more than a minute.
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