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Ambo chiefs vow change after target figures drop

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 14, 2014

One of the East of England Ambulance Service's new ambulances.

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AMBULANCE chiefs have vowed to offer a ‘decent timely service’ to people in South Derbyshire after new figures showed that it was failing to hit vital target times in parts of the area.

Heather Wheeler, MP for South Derbyshire, revealed that she had been promised improvement by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) after statistics showed that it had not reached 75 per cent of the most serious cases within the nationally set eight minute timeline in places such as Swadlincote and Melbourne.

Near to Swadlincote, the service took more than 10 minutes to respond to Red 1 calls, where patients are in a severe condition, including cardiac arrest, within the set time limit.

In Melbourne, the average response time was nine minutes 30 seconds when, across Derbyshire and parts of East Staffordshire in 2013, the average response time was seven minutes and 14 seconds for Red 1 calls.

Mrs Wheeler said: “The service has not been good enough.

“I have had the opportunity to meet with the new interim chief executive and interim chairman and they assure me their number one aim is to give a decent timely service to the people of South Derbyshire.”

A spokesman for EMAS said: “When compared to urban areas, the number of calls we receive is very low.

“This means there is a reduced likelihood of there being a vehicle in close proximity to where help is needed.

“In response to these challenges, we provide cover by placing staff at strategic standby points rather than them waiting to respond to a call from a station which may itself be a long way from the location of the next call.”

The service’s overall average response time - on which it is judged by the Department of Health - was improved to less than six minutes by fast average response times in Derby.

This comes after it was revealed that EMAS was found to be failing four out of six national standards after a detailed investigation by the Care Quality Commission.

The body found that immediate action was needed in terms of the way the service deals with the care and welfare of patients, the safety, availability and suitability of equipment, staffing and support workers.

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