MP to meet with ambulance boss

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AN MP has pledged to push the boss of East Midlands Ambulance Service to improve emergency response times in the county at a meeting next Thursday.

Peter Bone, who is MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, asked to meet service chief executive Phil Milligan after ambulances failed to reach almost a third of life-threatening 999 calls in the county within eight minutes between September and December.

Mr Bone said: “My personal belief – and I will put this to the chief executive – is that Northamptonshire is losing out.”

The service reached 74 per cent of life-threatening calls in the county in January after £1.7 million of government investment was used to add two more ambulances and crews to the fleet and use of hospital-ambulance liaison officers, who work in accident and emergency departments to speed up turn-around times, was increased.

But this still falls below the 75 per cent target set by the Government.

Mr Bone said: “I would say that is a minimum target, not a maximum target.”

Mr Bone is also concerned that ambulances are being diverted from non-emergency calls as the service battles to meet the target. He said he had heard many examples of elderly constituents waiting for “hours and hours” for an ambulance.

On a typical shift, Northamptonshire has 17 double-crewed ambulances on duty and eleven fast response vehicles. The extra money has allowed the service to put on two more double-crewed ambulances. Last year two specialist crisis response vehicles were brought in to respond to people who had fallen. The new staff manage patients entering hospitals so crews can get back out quickly.

The St John Ambulance and British Red Cross also help transport patients with minor injuries to a treatment centre when demand is high.

Richard Clayton, assistant director of operations for Northamptonshire, said: “We introduced the extra crews at the start of January this year and they are having a positive impact on the response we can give to local people.”