Big improvement by East of England Ambulance Service for patient response times

Emergency services incident, news form the Peterborough Telegraph, @peterboroughtel on Twitter
Emergency services incident, news form the Peterborough Telegraph, @peterboroughtel on Twitter
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The times it takes for ambulances to get to critically ill patients has significantly improved.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust has gone from the worst of all 11 trusts in the country for its response to the most critically ill patients to within the top five inside a year.

The Trust was ranked bottom in July 2014 for its response to the most life-threatening emergencies - known as Red 1 - which includes unconscious patients or those with traumatic injuries.

These patients are expected to be reached within eight minutes.

However, since October, crews are reaching these patients faster than the majority of other ambulance services despite a 20 per cent rise in the number of Red 1 calls in the past year.

In February, the Trust exceeded the national target by almost three percent, with nearly 78 per cent of Red 1 emergencies reached on time.

In addition, the Trust has improved its response for Red 2 calls, the second most serious type of emergencies.

These were reached within eight minutes 61 per cent of the time last April but 66 per cent of the time in February.

Between May and September 2014, the number of calls picked up within five seconds fell short of the 95 per cent target, but this has been achieved consistently since October.

Dr Anthony Marsh, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “Over the last year we have upgraded our fleet, invested in new equipment, rolled out programmes to upskill existing staff and recruited more than 400 frontline staff, with the same number set to join us over the coming year.

“In addition, we have reinvested around £14 million of back office or corporate savings into frontline activity. We know we are not there yet but all of these measures have helped and will continue to help us improve our service.

“Our performance must continue to improve and we know we can expect to come under scrutiny, and rightly so, when we fall below expected standards.

“We are, however, consistently achieving patient satisfaction scores of 98 per cent and the recent NHS staff survey showed that more and more of our staff now believe in what we are trying to achieve.

“We will not rest on our laurels though and as a values-driven organisation we will continue striving to deliver a service that works for both our patients and our staff.”