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Ambulance times getting slower

PUBLISHED: 13:50 04 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

WITH just six months to go before ambulance crews must hit a tough new target, they are effectively getting slower due to the high number of 999 calls.

WITH just six months to go before ambulance crews must hit a tough new target, they are effectively getting slower due to the high number of 999 calls.

By April, the East Anglian Ambulance Trust is expected get to 75 per cent of life-threatening calls within eight minutes.

But figures released today show that in September, crew got to 59pc of life-threatening calls, compared to August when they hit 61pc.

Suffolk crews actually achieved 61pc in September, but the regional average was brought down by problems in Cambridgeshire.

Crews also reached 95.1pc of all calls within 19 minutes – which is a fraction worse than the 95.9pc they achieved in September last year.

Director of operations Paul Sutton said crews and staff in the control centre are facing previously unseen workload pressures while being asked to achieve more demanding targets.

The East Anglian Ambulance Trust has seen a ten per cent increase in emergency calls in the past year, with the volume of calls rising from 56,121 in 2000 to 61,750 this year.

For five consecutive months the trust has dealt with more emergency calls than it did over the Millennium period.

Mr Sutton said: "Thanks to health authority funding, we are able to put in extra resources in the coming months, both in terms of technology in the control room and paramedics and technicians out on the road.

"While we are facing a significant challenge in upgrading the trust's infrastructure, in order to perform to the new standards in a sustainable way, there's no doubt this ever-increasing demand is making the already difficult task of hitting these targets even more challenging."

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