EMAS: Ambulance death toll ‘not known’

Guy Grainger outside the Market RAsen Ambulance Station EMN-140615-074036001
Guy Grainger outside the Market RAsen Ambulance Station EMN-140615-074036001

The Midland Ambulance Service says cannot say how many die on the way to hospital.

Guy Grainger of Market Rasen, who has been campaigning for better ambulance response times in rural Lincolnshire, says he is “shocked” that no-one within EMAS has looked at mortality figures since at least 2008.

He wants to know why no senior manager has even asked to see the data as central government recognises that measuring clinical outcomes is central to improving ambulance and other services.

From April 2011, all ambulance services in England began measuring and reporting against 11 clinical quality indicators, which should allow a comparison of EMAS data with that of other ambulance services within the country.

Guy believes it is “extremely worrying that EMAS is operating without this key information.”

“It is also scandalous that nobody knows, for example, if a higher proportion of people are dying in areas like Market Rasen and Horncastle which suffer from poor ambulance response times.”

The lack of mortality records came up in questioning between EMAS and the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee, which is made up of county and district councillors, In a written response after a recent meeting, EMAS says if crew transfer a patient, they will continue resuscitation until a doctor at the receiving hospital stops it.

”Technically, it means no patients have died in the vehicle as they are still being treated, it is only a qualified doctor that can certify death.”

Asked how many patients were already dead when the ambulance arrived, EMAS responded: “We only collect this information for patients where we have attempted resuscitation. If the patient was obviously dead on our arrival, we would not attempt resuscitation and therefore our clinical audit/ clinical governance department would not collect the data.”