More calls hit ambulance figures

THE East Anglian Ambulance Service today revealed that it has failed to meet its response-time target for life-threatening calls.Ambulance crews and responders treated only 72.

THE East Anglian Ambulance Service today revealed that it has failed to meet its response-time target for life-threatening calls.

Ambulance crews and responders treated only 72.5 per cent of life-threatening calls within eight minutes in October – as compared to 75.9 per cent in October last year.

The ambulance service says the cause is the soaring number of 999 calls.

It attended 3,004 patients suffering from life-threatening conditions within eight minutes in October, compared to 2,698 patients last October.

But the service is taking a greater number of calls overall.

October saw the ambulance service attend 15 per cent more emergency calls than it did in October last year.

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Prank or inappropriate calls are not thought to be the problem – as the ambulance service is also taking 15 per cent more people to hospital.

Ambulance chiefs are warning that the situation looks even bleaker for November.

The number of emergency calls is this month up by 25 per cent, as compared to this time last year.

Paul Sutton, director of operations at the ambulance service, said: "We're taking on additional call-takers because of the sheer volume of calls, but out on the road we simply don't have the resources to put significant numbers of extra ambulances on duty.

"We are actually treating more and more people more quickly, but the bar is being raised to such an extent that it will soon be out of reach.

"We are trying to understand the reasons for it in conjunction with our health service partners."

A spokeswoman for primary care trusts in Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk said the cause was most likely the increased pressure on health care across the board.

She said: "If you look at health care across East Anglia, pressure is up.

"We are caring for a lot of older people as people live longer. We are also able to help more people, which means there is a growing population.

"There is an increase in demand for healthcare across the board."

Pressure on on-call doctors is also on the increase.

While 3,816 patients were treated by GPs working out of hours in October last year, the number of people treated jumped up to 4,192 in October this year.

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