Ambulances facing growing demand

AMBULANCE crews in East Anglia had their busiest ever month in October.They responded to a third more calls than they had in the same period three years ago, but still managed to achieve the target time for reaching life-threatening emergencies.

AMBULANCE crews in East Anglia had their busiest ever month in October.

They responded to a third more calls than they had in the same period three years ago, but still managed to achieve the target time of eight minutes for reaching life-threatening emergencies.

In total, the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust (EAAT) responded to 15,437 calls, up from 11,379 in October 2002.

Rob Lawrence, director of operations for the trust, said: “You only have to glance at the figures to see that crews, responders, officers and control staff have been under increased pressure, dealing with more calls and patients than ever before.”


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However, he warned that if the number of calls continued rising at the current levels it would become harder and harder to maintain performance.

He said: “We would never want to deter people with a genuine need from ringing for an ambulance, but we would encourage people to get the right treatment for their condition by accessing the most appropriate part of the health service.

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“It may be more appropriate for some people to ring NHS Direct speak to a pharmacist, make an appointment to see their GP or practice nurse, or visit a walk-in centre.” He added that patients should also ensure that all of their prescriptions are up to date.

A working group to explore the reasons for increases in emergency demand across all areas of health in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk has been set up.

NHS direct is on 0845 46 47.

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