East: Ambulance service still missing targets

EAST ANGLIA: Emergency service bosses have responded to criticism after failing for the sixth consecutive month to meet targets for dispatching ambulances to life threatening incidents.

Government figures showed the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was one of just two regional services not to achieve the benchmark 95per cent target for responding to ‘Category A’ incidents within 19 minutes, irrespective of location, during November - instead achieving 94.7pc.

And despite narrowly accomplishing the 75pc national target for sending a rapid response vehicle to emergency calls within eight minutes, the service performed worst of all 12 regions of the country, with a rate of 75.3pc.

The Evening Star launched Ambulance Watch 2011 after figures released in July revealed the trust was the only one in the country to fail to meet the eight minute target, known as A8.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said time was running out for the trust to improve performance and called for the resignation of its chief executive if the Department of Health ambulance quality indicator targets continue to not be met.

Dr Poulter said he had spoken to North Norfolk MP and political adviser Norman Lamb to agree a “clear plan of action” for the service. He added: “It won’t happen overnight. I’m disappointed the service is still not up to speed. It takes time to get things right but time is running out.

“If things continue in the same way, it will be time for the chief executive to resign. The management have been letting down the front line.

Most Read

A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said: “Of course it is disappointing to miss the A19 target, even by such a small margin, but we know how hard our staff and volunteers work to ensure clinical excellence is at the fore of our response.

“We will be looking closely at the figures and building on the well-publicised ongoing work to narrow the gap but it worth remembering it is very narrow and we want to reassure our patients they are always our number one priority.

“As far as A8 is concerned we are still performing beyond the target but due to the volatile nature of demand the figures inevitably vary from trust to trust every month and in fact we were the best performer the previous month (October) with 77.6pc.”

Dr Poulter said he would be keeping pressure on the trust between now and another meeting with his North Norfolk counterpart Mr Lamb in March. He has also written to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to request that statistical measurements are broken down by county in the future in order to achieve more detailed local results.

Have you needed an ambulance recently? What was the response time like? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter