Lincolnshire

East Midlands Ambulance Service says it needs more resources to meet targets

This story is over

The East Midlands Ambulance Service says that it does not have enough resources to meet national response times targets set by the government from September 2018.

Ambulances in Lincoln took more than double the amount of time to respond to patients suffering from a stroke or epilepsy, according to figures from the past four months.

EMAS took on average 38 minutes to react to a category two call – 20 minutes above target – which means a patient is suffering from a serious condition which would also include chest pains or burns.

Across Lincolnshire, the service recorded an average category two call response of 45 minutes and over 11 minutes for a category one call.

According to an EMAS report, the service responded on average to a category one call, made for a life threatening injury or illness, in 11 minutes with the national standard set at seven.

However, in Lincoln, EMAS took only eight minutes to respond to urgent life-threatening calls.

Yet, the service also took more than two hours to respond to a health care professional requesting an ambulance within one hour.

Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

The full breakdown of response times by CCG area:

Lincolnshire East CCG

  • Category one – 11:29
  • Category two: 45:28
  • Category three: 01:38:16
  • Category four: 01:00:14

Lincolnshire West CCG

  • Category one – 08:42
  • Category two: 39:51
  • Category three: 02:03:26
  • Category four: 02:25:47

South Lincolnshire CCG

  • Category one – 13:13
  • Category two: 55:08
  • Category three: 01:38:16
  • Category four: 01:00:14

South West Lincolnshire CCG

  • Category one – 11:35
  • Category two: 51:43
  • Category three: 01:49:27
  • Category four: 01:51:20

More resources needed to meet targets

Ben Holdaway, director of operations at EMAS said: “We joined the NHS England national Ambulance Response Programme (ARP) in July 2017.

“In order to meet the new national standards, and for our patients to benefit from the change, NHS England recognises that we need to remodel our service. This is because ARP is not about the fastest response, but the most appropriate clinical response.

“NHS England has given all English services until September 2018 to achieve the new standards.

“However, our trust board has a fundamental belief that there is a resourcing gap at EMAS.

“The new financial year is set to be another real challenge for EMAS, hence why our discussions with commissioners continue regarding the level of funding and resource required to meet the national performance standards and help us to improve patient care.

“We like other NHS organisations are still feeling the pressure from a challenging winter.”

Members of the health scrutiny panel for Lincolnshire will discuss the EMAS report on response times at a meeting on March 21.

It comes after health trusts in Lincolnshire missed all their targets for cancer treatment, accident and emergency and planned operations since the beginning of 2018.

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire Community Health Services and United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust missed targets for diverting patients away from A&E at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, in order to east pressure on the department.