Paramedic response times miss target

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched to establish why ambulance response times for emergencies in west Suffolk fell short of target during a busy week last month.

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched to establish why ambulance response times for emergencies in west Suffolk fell short of target during a busy week last month.

Health bosses revealed at a meeting this week that crews missed the eight-minute target response time by 6%.

For the week ending August 20, ambulance crews attended 69% of emergency calls within eight minutes - falling short of the 75% objective.

Frank Hume, associate director of planning, information and performance management at the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust (PCT), will be investigating the reasons for the lapse in response to emergency calls.


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Colin Muge, chairman of Suffolk West PCT, said: “It's rare for the ambulance service to achieve the national target of reaching 75% of Category A calls in eight minutes in west Suffolk because of the rural nature of the area.

“However, it is usually very close and to fall below 70% is extremely disappointing, particularly as the overall figure for the six counties covered by the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust was 74.53%.

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“We will be raising our concerns with the ambulance service.”

A spokesman for Suffolk West PCT, added: “There has been some concern over that particular week. Frank Hume will be liaising with the west Suffolk ambulance service to raise that concern.

“We do have a positive relationship with the ambulance service and we will be liaising with them on this matter.”

For the same week across the whole of Suffolk, ambulance crews attended 71% of emergency calls within the eight minutes, and the last annual figure puts response times for Suffolk at 76% - above target.

Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer for Suffolk with the East of England Ambulance Trust, said he would also be looking at the performance for the west Suffolk area after seeing the figures.

“In that particular week the highest number of call outs were (for) falls, then chest pains then breathing problems. It was one of the busiest (weeks) we have had all year.

“I would like to be able to give 100% of service but we are only required to give 75% - and we have done that across the county.

“I will be looking into the west Suffolk area - as I always look into gaps and ways to fill them, like responders and managing times.”

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