£3.5m fine for EMAS after failure to meet target for life-threatening calls

East Midlands Ambulance Service has been fined �3.5m
East Midlands Ambulance Service has been fined �3.5m

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

he target of ambulances arriving at 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes was missed this target by over 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.

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

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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

The service announced an unexpected u-turn in March when it decided against closing Louth Ambulance Station after a wave of public outcry.

Reacting to the news, Coun Christine Talbot, Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire, said: “People in Lincolnshire need to have confidence in their ambulance service.

“We’re amazed that EMAS are claiming their changes will improve response times and have already referred their consultation process to the Secretary of State whose response we await.

“We have also asked EMAS to attend our next Health Scrutiny Committee as an urgent item to answer further questions.

“Quite simply, if response times in the East Midlands are bad, then it means they are even worse in Lincolnshire.

“It isn’t to do with the quality of the professional staff - there aren’t enough ambulances or crew members to service a rural county like Lincolnshire, especially on the east coast in the summer when we have a huge increase in population, and we’re not convinced that closing ambulance stations will help.

“It isn’t good enough – action is needed now to reassure the people of Lincolnshire.”