East Midlands: Ambulance trust says response times ‘improving’

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Ambulance response time targets are improving at East Midlands Ambulance Service, latest figures show.

EMAS said today it was ‘getting back on track’ following a drive to improve ambulance response times set at a risk summit last October.

In June last year EMAS was fined £3.5 million for failing to meet a national response time target. It was the third year in a row EMAS had been fined.

And a damning report by the Care Quality Commission suggested the service was at ‘breaking point’.

In September, it came last out of 11 ambulance trusts in the country for reaching 75 per cent of patients in a life threatening state in eight minutes, and getting an ambulance to 95 per cent of these cases within 19 minutes.

But on 25th February EMAS met with NHS England and its lead commissioner, Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group to review progress since October’s risk summit.

And their feedback was encouraging, said the Trust.

“Since December, EMAS has made significant strides towards achieving the life-threatening response targets,” said a spokesman.

“The focus for all remains on delivery of the national targets by the end of March 2014.”

“We are on track to meet the 95 per cent target for the number of ambulances arriving within 19 minutes. As at 26th March, we are only an average of 18 seconds per call away from achieving this.”

“We are only eight seconds away on average from achieving the Red 1, and the Red 2 targets for March, where 75 per cent of these calls should be responded to within eight minutes.”

“Representatives from NHS England and the CCG noted a number of improvements made by EMAS over recent months.”

These include improved relationships with partners and stakeholders, successful recruitment to key clinical vacancies including paramedics and emergency care assistants, and more effective local management to support staff better.

Sue Noyes, EMAS chief executive, said: “It means a lot to us to gain assurances from both NHS England and the CCG that we are an improving organisation.”

“These messages will be a real boost for staff who have worked particularly hard throughout the winter months to make improvements at the same time as responding to thousands of emergency calls.”

“However, we are not complacent in any way, and although we are now well on the way in this big journey, we know we still have a long way to go to offer consistently high quality services to every patient, every time.”

“I am very clear, open and realistic about the work that we still need to do.”