Concern over NHS trust’s report

AMBULANCE patients in Northamptonshire made more complaints to NHS bosses than any other division in the East Midlands, a new report shows.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) board papers show in nine of the last 12 months, complaints were higher than in other counties in the region.

At their peak in December 2011, complaints in Northamptonshire were proportionally almost six times more than Nottinghamshire, the nearest second-worst area.

Most of the complaints were about time taken for an ambulance to arrive, and ambulance bosses also acknowledged that the overall rise in complaints across the East Midlands is probably linked to the introduction of the new 999 call categorisations last April. It comes after EMAS boss Phil Milligan admitted in February that waiting times were far too long and he would be driving them down.

Karen Glover, director of nursing and quality, said: “This change resulted in longer than expected response times for some categories of call, for example green non-life-threatening calls, which may have increased patient dissatisfaction.”

County patients complained 60 times per 100,000 journeys in December 2011 compared with just 10 times per 100,000 in Nottinghamshire. There were also peaks in May, June and July last year, as well as February 2012.

However the ambulance service received more than twice as many compliments as complaints in 12 months, with 601 compliments in total for the year. This compares to the previous year where it received 496 compliments and represents a 21 per cent increase.

Mrs Glover said: “Overall activity has risen by 7 per cent compared to the previous year so this represents an increase in compliments in real terms.”