Ambulance crews' best monthly response

AMBULANCE crews in East Anglia are celebrating their best monthly response times ever.The East Anglian Ambulance Trust got to more patients suffering from a potentially life threatening condition (Category A) in less than eight minutes in March than any month previously.

AMBULANCE crews in East Anglia are celebrating their best monthly response times ever.

The East Anglian Ambulance Trust got to more patients suffering from a potentially life threatening condition (Category A) in less than eight minutes in March than any month previously.

The new high was 78.15% compared with 75.03% for the same month last year. The Government target is 75%.

During the year ending March 2003, an extra 11,870 of Category A patients received an eight-minute response compared to the previous year.

Over the whole year, 75.15% of these calls were reached within eight minutes, compared with 63.79% the previous year.

It is the first time since the ambulance inquiry in 1998 that the ambulance service has achieved the government's primary response time target for a complete year.

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It comes despite an increase of about 7% in all emergency 999 calls from 124,792 last year to 134,140 for the most recent period. In 1994/5 the EAAT received just 71,657 emergency calls.

Direct of operations Paul Sutton praised road crews, control and support staff for their efforts.

"The challenge now is to maintain this against the backdrop of still rising 999 call numbers, while making moves towards 90 per cent, which will eventually be the Government's target."

Trust chairman Andrew Egerton-Smith added: "When you consider that our response times were as low as 38 per cent just three years ago, it's truly staggering that so much has been achieved in such a short space of time.

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