Ambulance service fined millions for missing national target

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East Midlands Ambulance Service has been fined £3.5m after it failed to meet a national target for patients involved in life-threatening injuries.

The service is supposed to get an ambulance to 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes, but the service missed this target by more than three per cent.

It met the second target set by the NHS – to respond to 75 per cent of callers reporting a life-threatening emergency within eight minutes.

But, it is the third-year in a row the service has been fined.

However, EMAS medical director Dr James Gray, insisted that a large amount of ‘quality care’ was provided during that period.

Dr Gray added: “A tremendous amount of quality clinical care was provided to hundreds of thousands of people across the East Midlands during the 2012/13 performing year, and I thank our clinical colleagues and those working in the backroom functions providing support to them, for their continued commitment and dedication to provide the very best care, often during traumatic and challenging circumstances.

“The speed at which an ambulance response is given to an emergency call is important. There are also other elements that are as vital when providing emergency medical care.

“Negotiations with the organisations who pay (commission) us to provide emergency services have been successful and this year, we’ve been given additional funding which will be spent on extra frontline staff. This is on top of the 140 new staff we announced in March 2013.”

Dr Gray added that the service’s “Our Being the Best” improvement programme will also make a significant improvement to performance.

EMAS said that In Northamptonshire it provided 28,549 journeys to hospital for patients reported to be in a life-threatening condition.