Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: -1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Ambulance service in state of emergency as targets continue to be missed

13:10 25 February 2013

West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital

Archant

A DAMNING report has shown that the ambulance service failed to hit response time targets in Suffolk for every month of the last financial year.

Today we can reveal ahead of an NHS board meeting on Wednesday that Suffolk was one of three counties in the East of England, along with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, to have consistently missed national standards since April last year.

The failings account for both eight-minute and 19-minute targets for responding to category A patients - those in an immediately life-threatening condition. Not once in 10 months did the service meets its target of responding to 95% of calls within 19 minutes or 75% of calls within eight minutes.

North East Essex and Mid Essex consistently failed to meet A19 targets. North East Essex met the A8 target just once, while Mid Essex fared only slightly better, edging across the threshold on three occasions. Just six out of 13 Primary Care Trust areas, including South East, South West and West Essex, managed to meet both target brackets every month.

The news comes a week after the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) introduced 15 extra ambulances to its fleet following a review in response to patient and staff feedback.

Suffolk MP Dan Poulter and health minister, who has continually pushed for improvements within the service, called the figures “hugely disappointing but sadly unsurprising”. He added: “These figures are a sobering reminder of the complete failure of leadership within the ambulance service to face up to the challenge of providing high quality and speedy ambulance cover for Suffolk.”

The report, compiled by the ambulance trust’s director of strategy and business development, Adrian Matthews, said that the number of complaints received in the East of England remained high, with the majority concerning response time. However, it noted that written compliments still outnumbered complaints.

Patient handover delays at hospital also continue to be an issue with the average time remaining at 20 minutes for the last two months.

A total of six Primary Care Trust areas, including South East, South West and West Essex, managed to meet both target brackets every month.

However, North East Essex and Mid Essex consistently failed to meet A19 targets.

Overall, the EEAS “year-to-date” position has worsened to 73.94% for A8 response and 93.87% for A19 response.

The report said that performance is expected to improve in line with the easing of continued winter weather pressure and challenges in reaching patients due to adverse conditions. A8 response was expected to be back at 75% for February, the report said.

Meanwhile, performance is expected to improve with a reduction in sickness levels and an increase in staff morale. Both short term and long term sickness have exceeded targets for the last financial year, with almost 10% of the workforce absent during January.

A spokeswoman for the service said: “While recent patient surveys show the clinical care they receive is good, the ambulance service recognises the need to improve its performance against time targets and is implementing a number of measures to do so, including 200 new frontline recruits, 15 extra ambulances, which will be crewed by existing staff on overtime as much as possible until we get our new staff on board, better working with hospitals to tackle handover delays, more effective rotas and special cars to treat patients at home when they may not need to go to hospital. In addition our new chief executive Andrew Morgan is looking at other solutions and working towards a priority of meeting time targets.”

As well as 15 extra ambulances, EEAS is also recruiting 75 new paramedics and 124 care assistants.

Dr Poulter welcomed the increase but questioned its timing. He added: “It is very good news that there will be additional ambulances provided for Suffolk and rural areas of East Anglia but this should have been done 12 or 18 months ago.”

The results of Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigation into the trust are due to be published next month.

1 comment

  • This proves bigger is not better

    Report this comment

    Michael Curtis

    Monday, February 25, 2013

Stock image of the Dominican Republic.

A Clacton couple who fell ill during a special break to celebrate their Ruby Wedding anniversary are to receive compensation after a ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Stock image of the Hawthorn Drive shopping area in Ipswich.

Police are stepping up patrols in the Chantry area of Ipswich after a man apparently tried to abduct an eight-year-old boy.

Delays in Norwich Road, Ipswich. Pic: Paul Geater.

Rush hour commuters face a week of delays in the Norwich Road area of Ipswich after a sewer collapsed.

Fans of Tom Jones show off their memorabilia as he performs at The Regent Theatre in Ipswich in November 1992

In the last few weeks he has made his return to The Voice UK but back in 1992 Welsh superstar Tom Jones was gracing the stage in Ipswich.

Cllr John Spence

Households in Essex are due to pay an average of £33.50 extra next financial year in council tax under plans unveiled by County Hall and fire chiefs.

Sudbury's Saturday market is not as well attended as the town's Thursday market

Market traders in Sudbury who are facing a 5% increase in stall fees this year will be asked how the twice weekly markets could be made more attractive to shoppers.

Pigeon Point, Tobago

It was a country like no other. Here’s what I loved about the beautiful islands of Trinidad and Tobago and why you should grab the chance to visit.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24