Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ambulance chiefs will be ‘held to account’ over response times

12:00 10 February 2016

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

Archant

Figures have revealed the region’s ambulance service is continuing to fall short when responding to the most serious emergencies.

Robert Morton. Photo: East of England Ambulance Service Trust.Robert Morton. Photo: East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

Bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) have cited an “overwhelming” increase in calls as one of the main reasons behind the failure to reach the Government target of 75% of patients in eight minutes.

The latest data released by the trust for December shows that for Red 1 calls – the most critical of life-threatening situations – 60% of cases in west Suffolk and 64% in Ipswich and east Suffolk saw ambulances arrive within the eight minutes.

The figures for Ipswich and east Suffolk represented an improvement on November’s calls, but was still some way short of the 75% target chiefs have set for life-threatening cases.

However, for west Suffolk, the figures represented the trust’s worst recorded rate since April.

Therese Coffey MPTherese Coffey MP

The news comes almost six months after paramedic Robert Morton took over from Anthony Marsh as the trust’s chief executive on a salary of £142,000. When appointed he said he was confident he could build on the work of Mr Marsh.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “I’m disappointed with the latest figures and lack of progress in the last six months. I said I would hold the Ambulance Service to account and they are in Parliament next month,” she said.

“Patience on behalf of patients is starting to wear thin.”

Trust bosses last night defended their commitment and level of care, citing a dramatic rise in calls as a problem.

New EEAST director Matt BroadNew EEAST director Matt Broad

Matt Broad, locality director for Suffolk, said: “The figures about the time taken to reach people have to be taken in a much wider context. Our service regionally attended more than 2,000 more Red [life-threatening] calls in Suffolk within eight minutes so far this financial year [between April and December], compared with the same period in 2014-15.

“Any response to these calls, even one that is a second over eight minutes, is counted as a fail, but does not begin to account for the level of care given once we do reach that patient and the outcome.

“Despite the pressures we all face, the level of commitment from everyone is something I’m constantly amazed by and proud of.”

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said he is aware that the service “has room to improve its performance” for the most urgent calls.

Ambulance call handlerAmbulance call handler

But he added: “Over time, people have shared feedback with us that tends to be positive about the service, particularly with respect to the professionalism of ambulance crews. Issues have, however, been reported to us on occasion by local people that reference concerns about waiting for ambulances to arrive.

“We will collate experiences from across the East of England and ensure they are heard at the right places within the trust to influence change where possible.”

The trust also identifies a rise in the number of 111 calls resulting in ambulances attending, a higher proportion of serious cases and hospital handover waits as contributing factors to the downturn. Now, they have vowed that work is ongoing to help improve the response times.

An ambulance spokesman added: “As well as continuing to encourage the public, with our health partners, in using the NHS in the way that’s best for them, we are working closely with acute and CCG NHS trusts to improve services, especially regarding handover waits at A&Es and integrating with 111/GP out-of-hours services.”

Healthwatch Suffolk, the county’s watchdog for local healthcare services, said it would be monitoring the trust’s progress, and collating feedback on patients’ experiences to help target improvements.

Figures for north-east Essex also dropped between November and December, but were consistently above 70%.

2 comments

  • I'd love to know what exactly Dr Coffey is achieving by having the service in parliament this month. It's pretty simple. The service is understaffed and overworked. The public and 111 are misusing the ambulance service day in day out. How's about doing something constructive to help the ambulance like lobbying for a change how performance is measured given the wholly flawed system at present. An ambulance will arrive at cardiac arrest in 4 mins and the patient dies. The government deems this as a success. An ambulance arrives at a cardiac arrest in 8min 15 seconds and the patient survives and is discharged from hospital. The government deems this a failure. Ambulance services should be measured by clinical performance not arbitrary times

    Report this comment

    putput

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

  • ""I said I would hold the Ambulance Service to account and they are in Parliament next month,”" ......................................................................... Very constructive and helpful - NOT. But only to be expected from a bullying, arrogant government of class-warriors..................................................................... I heard Cameron, on Monday, state that we are a "compassionate society" - tell that to the victimised disabled, and the families of those who have taken their lives in despair.

    Report this comment

    catharthis

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Police stock image

An independently chaired misconduct panel has dismissed a police constable for gross misconduct.

Overhead view of the proposed Hill Gallop

A major investment in Newmarket horseracing has been unveiled as a five-year project gets closer to the finishing post.

Honey Rose arriving at Ipswich Crown Court during her trial

An eye expert who missed serious abnormalities in the eyes of an “active and football loving” Ipswich schoolboy who later died has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

Leonie Troke (centre, green top) leaving Colchester Magistrates' Court with family and solicitors

A driver who caused a crash which killed one woman and left her own five-year-old daughter paralysed from the waist down has been sentenced today.

Tracy Forshaw serving at Clacton Beer Festival 2016 on Thursday afternoon

Ale lovers are raising a glass to the Clacton Airshow at this year’s summer beer festival in the town.

Neil Farrow, organiser of the Ipswich Gin Festival

Ipswich is set to get its own gin festival next year, with dozens of food and drink companies set to get on board.

Former Felixstowe councillor Dot Paddick

Tributes have been paid to a former community leader, described by her colleagues as colourful and charismatic, who has died at the age of 79.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24