Ambulance loophole claim

AMBULANCE chiefs are using a loophole in the way response times are recorded to skew results, it was claimed today.

AMBULANCE chiefs are using a loophole in the way response times are recorded to skew results, it was claimed today.

The Evening Star previously revealed the East of England Ambulance Service was failing to reach dying patients quickly enough, missing its target of getting to 75 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes.

Instead it got to just 69 pc in the time frame.

Now a whistle-blowing paramedic has warned that the performance could be even worse, because ambulances are allowed to record that they have reached their destination when they are actually 200 metres away.

The paramedic said this process could be twisting the performance times, because an ambulance could be 200 metres away from where they need to be but across a river, and so still a few minutes from reaching the destination.

Neil Storey, interim associate director of accident and emergency operations for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “In 2008/2009 all ambulance services introduced the measure of automatically recording the arrival of an ambulance service resource on scene at an incident.

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“The vehicle tracking/polling system and the computer aided dispatch system link together to mark a vehicle in attendance at an incident within a maximum of 200 metres of the given destination.

“This enables all ambulance services to be benchmarked against the same standard and also ensures that the CAD system updates with the crew location details as a means of safeguarding crews.”

Have you had to wait too long for an ambulance? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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