Ambulance calls break 150,000 barrier
EMERGENCY ambulance calls broke the 150,000 barrier for the first time last year – but response times continued to improve.The East Anglian Ambulance Service (EAAS) responded to 150,738 calls last year, up 12% from the previous year and nearly double the 72,000 recorded ten years ago.
EMERGENCY ambulance calls broke the 150,000 barrier for the first time last year - but response times continued to improve.
The East Anglian Ambulance Service (EAAS) responded to 150,738 calls last year, up 12% from the previous year and nearly double the 72,000 recorded ten years ago.
For the year to end of March 2004, 76.1% of life-threatening calls were reached inside eight minutes compared to the government target of 75%.
Those figures, released by the EAAS, are an improvement from the 75.1% result in 2002/2003 and a huge jump from a lowly 63% in 2001/2002.
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There was also a big improvement in the service's response to GP urgent calls, with the time target met in 93.15% of cases - compared to 85.9% in 2002/2003.
The final target, that 95% of life-threatening patients are reached within 19 minutes, was also achieved with a 96.63% figure.
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Among the reasons for improvement include technological advances in control and vehicles, tactical positioning of resources and a growth in community response teams.
Additional community paramedics have also been deployed in rural and urban areas, while there has been an increase in the number of staff and vehicles.
Rob Mason, assistant director of operations at the EAAS, paid tribute to staff both in ambulance control and on the road.
He said: "Yet again, staff throughout the organisation have been kept busier than ever before, and they've responded very well to the challenge.
"We're very proud of the improvements that have been made here in East Anglia over the past few years, but there are always new challenges facing us.
"You can't afford to stand still or you'll soon be left behind by the increase in calls and pace of change."
As well as working towards faster response times, the EAAS is focusing on clinical effectiveness and new treatments.
All eight of the district's hospitals can now receive copies of ECG graphs prior to a patient's arrival in A&E, speeding up treatment.
Meanwhile, a programme of giving thrombolysis, which break down clots in heart attack sufferers, will be extended over the next 12 months.
And more than a dozen additional frontline Mercedes vehicles fitted with hydraulic tail-lifts will replace older ambulances.