Ambulance service hits tougher targets

AMBULANCES in the east have reached the target of responding to three-quarters of emergency calls within eight minutes, it emerged today.

AMBULANCES in the east have reached the target of responding to three-quarters of emergency calls within eight minutes, it emerged today.

New figures show the East of England Ambulance Service received 718,300 emergency and urgent calls in 2007/08.

It reached 75.1 per cent of those within eight minutes, and 95.7pc within 19 minutes - beating a target of 95pc.

However the figures were below the national average of reaching 77.1pc of emergency and urgent calls within eight minutes and 97.1pc within 19 minutes.


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Matthew Ware, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “Bearing in mind the difficulties we have in this area with it being a rural area, and the continuing increase in the emergency call volumes, it is a huge achievement to have reached the target.

“It is all credit to our staff in the control room and on the road and all our support staff.”

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Response times are extremely important for paramedics because it has been estimated that for every minute of delay a patient's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest reduces by 10pc.

Since April 1 the ambulance service has even tighter targets to hit. Before then the eight-minute target began once the call taker had discovered what and where the emergency was.

Now the clock starts when the call is connected meaning the ambulance service needs to make up an extra 45 seconds.

Since the change came into force paramedics have reached about 70pc of emergency and urgent calls within eight minutes.

It was the failure of the former East Anglian Ambulance Trust - which merged with services in Essex and the south of the region to form the current service in 2005 - to reach its targets which prompted The Evening Star to launch our Ambulance Watch campaign in the mid-1990s.

That campaign resulted in a major overhaul of ambulance services in the region and improvements in response times - an improvement which has once again been reflected in the latest figures.

Does more need to be done to reduce waiting times for ambulances? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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