East Midlands Ambulance Service improvements made

East Midlands Ambulance Servicehas made a number of improvements in recent months by the two authorities which oversee it
East Midlands Ambulance Servicehas made a number of improvements in recent months by the two authorities which oversee it
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East Midlands Ambulance Service has made a number of improvements in recent months by the two authorities which oversee it.

Representatives from NHS England and the service’s lead commissioner, Erewash CCG, noted a number of improvements made by EMAS since a risk summit was held in October last year – but warned it was “not out of woods”.

The two overseeing authorities said improvements had been made in areas including relationships with stakeholders, recruitment of paramedic vacancies and more effective local management arrangements having been put in place.

But the two bodies have also said they will continue to monitor EMAS’s performance closely – particularly in respect of ambulance response times.

Last month, the Northants Telegraph revealed that one in three patients had to wait more than eight minutes for an ambulance in December 2013, significantly short of the minimum national standard, which is for no more than a quarter of patients to have to wait that long.

In Northamptonshire, the picture was even worse, with ambulances arriving within eight minutes at just 61 per cent of the most serious incidents.

EMAS says those figures have improved markedly since the start of 2014 and it was on track to meet response time targets in March.

EMAS chief executive Sue Noyes 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, particularly in the areas of staffing numbers and mix, professional development, vehicle availability at the start of shifts, and working with our staff to improve morale.”

Rakesh Marwaha, chief officer at NHS Erewash, said he was pleased that the service had developed clear and sustainable plans to improve its performance over the coming year.

He added: “Obviously, they are not out of the woods yet and there is a lot of hard work to be done, but we are pleased that they are now making good, steady progress.”