Ambulances hit 999 calls target

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THE county’s under-fire ambulance service has managed to hit its emergency response times target for two successive months after struggling for the past year.

Bosses at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) say they have plans to push on and continue in the same vein after the service met Government targets of reaching 75 per cent of the most serious emergency calls in the county within eight minutes in March and April.

Assistant director of operations, Richard Clayton, said: “I am delighted with the results and it is testament to the clinicians that work hard to deliver the service.

“We are absolutely committed to continuing this upturn, and myself and members of staff at EMAS are focused on delivering the quickest and safest possible care.”

The service came in for criticism from MPs after the Evening Telegraph reported in January that in Northamptonshire, the service had the worst response times for the most serious 999 calls in the East Midlands in the final months of 2011. In the 2011-12 financial year, the service had an average response rate of 71 per cent, but in March and April this year it achieved its 75 per cent target.

The service got a windfall of £270,000 towards more frontline ambulances, and bosses also fine-tuned internal operations as well as training staff to help them deal with calls more quickly.

“I think the improvements we’ve made have shown in the figures,” said Mr Clayton.

“We’ve also got static units in Kettering and Northampton to deal with alcohol-related injuries which helps ease some pressure. Last year, we had a huge growth in activity that wasn’t predicted, and this had a knock-on effect in performance.”