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Response times hit by system

PUBLISHED: 14:37 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

THE INTRODUCTION of a new computer system has caused a temporary dip in ambulance response times, which are now improving again.

Ambulance control staff in East Anglia are the first in Europe to use the latest, state-of-the-art computer-aided dispatch system, and teething problems were anticipated.

THE INTRODUCTION of a new computer system has caused a temporary dip in ambulance response times, which are now improving again.

Ambulance control staff in East Anglia are the first in Europe to use the latest, state-of-the-art computer-aided dispatch system, and teething problems were anticipated.

But the new software is a giant technological step forward for the East Anglian Ambulance Service as it strives to achieve the government's tough new response time targets by the beginning of April.

Crew are currently getting to 64 per cent of emergencies in eight minutes. The national target they must reach by April is 75pc.

The EAAS is currently running at 61.28 per cent for the year from April 1 to date - compared with 53.68pc for the same period the previous year despite an increase in emergency calls of nearly 11pc.

"We have been as high as 65pc, but we knew we would be unable to sustain this level throughout December, which is historically our busiest month, because of a combination of huge demand, bad weather and the bedding in process of implementing an entirely new computer system," said director of operations Paul Sutton.

"Performance fell below 60pc for much of December but we are pleased to see times returning to near 65pc for the first two weeks of January, and the implementation of this system sees us continuing to assemble the tools to move towards 75pc."

Chief executive Dr Chris Carney added: "It is important to emphasise that, as with all changes in systems, it will take time for the computer aided-dispatch system to reach full functionality and effectiveness to kick in."

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