Letter: Ambulances - Save lives, keep Rasen service

I have continued to push East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) with regard to the poor response times in our area.

EMAS responds to 617,000 emergency calls a year (latest figures) – this works out at about 1,000 emergency responses per ambulance.

Using the Freedom of Information Act I have discovered that there were over 2,400 emergency responses by dual crew ambulances to LN7 and LN8 post codes in the year from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013.

On average, throughout the region, this is the equivalent annual deployment of about 2.4 ambulances.

I have also obtained the locations of all the ambulances (ie where they were standing by) when they responded to these 2,400+ emergency incidents.

The major locations are listed below in descending order:

LINCOLN - 612

MARKET RASEN - 547

GRIMSBY - 349

LOUTH - 216

SCUNTHORPE - 188

GAINSBOROUGH - 179

BARTON - 57

HORNCASTLE - 56

SLEAFORD - 38

SKEGNESS - 23

CLEETHORPES - 18

BRIGG - 17

BOSTON -13

GRANTHAM - 11

Total - 2,324

The response to more than 1,750 of the emergency incidents involved sending an ambulance at least 15-20 miles.

These figures indicate that there is no operational benefit to EMAS in having to make so many long distance responses. EMAS are basically tying up the equivalent of two ambulances a year in sending ambulances from Lincoln, Grimsby etc to respond to emergencies in LN7 and LN8.

In short, there should be two ambulances standing by in the LN7 and LN8 postcodes to provide something close to the proper level of cover.

On October 10 I put forward the following very simple model for consideration by the EMAS main board:

Three ambulances to be based at the existing modern four bay ambulance station at Market Rasen.

Initial stand by locations at

a) Market Rasen Ambulance Station,

b) Ludford (extending cover eastwards towards Louth),

c) Nettleton (extending cover north and west through Caistor and beyond).

I have not yet received a reply from EMAS.

Poor responses times are linked to poorer survival rates – people in LN7 and LN8 will be dying each year because an ambulance cannot reach them in time – and this is because under the current EMAS operational system the ambulances are in the wrong locations.

Guy Grainger

King Street, Market Rasen