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Ambulance Resonse Times

November 27, 2012 7:24 AM
By Leon Duveen
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Leon DuveenFrom the point of view of a potential "customer" of the service, the most important issue that faces the East Midlands Ambulance Service is making sure that the Response Times not only meet the Government Targets across the region, but that they do so in all areas. It is not acceptable that the residents of more rural areas get a worse Ambulance Service than those who live in more highly populated areas.

Currently, based on the January to June figures, the response rates both for initial responses and for Ambulances to arrive are both at unacceptably low levels. If the proposed changes can help increase the number of incidents responded to within the targets, then they are to be welcomed in principle. It would be unacceptable that the proposed changes in anyway mean less First Responders or Ambulances normally based in the Bassetlaw area.

There are also serious problems with siteing the most northerly hub in Nottinghamshire at Kings Mills Hospital. Given the length of time it takes to travel from the major towns in North Nottinghamshire (Worksop, Retford & Newark), especially during rush hours, to Kings Mill, this will mean at the start of every shift at least 20 minutes, and often more, extra travel time before an Ambulance can be on station in any of these towns. Similarly, there is travel back to Kings Mill at then end of every shift. For any member of the Ambulance service living in these towns, it will also give then a minimum of 40 minutes extra travel time a day before the start or after finishing work. Other serious consideration should be given to providing Ambulance cover for the A1, the two Power Stations & the East Coast Mainline, all of which are in the east of the District.

There is a great fear (fed no doubt by misleading information from certain political parties locally) that the loss of Ambulance Stations in Bassetlaw equates to the loss of Ambulances as well. Because of this there is a danger that every delay in initial response or for an ambulance to arrive after any closure of the existing stations will be blamed on the changes, regardless of the fact there are already numerous incidents currently where such delays occur. There is also some confusion as to what counts as the initial response. To make sure that any changes can be demonstrated to improve the service, there will need to be independent monitoring of the effect of the changes on the service.

I would like to suggest some possible improvements to the proposed changes and how they will be monitored, especially with regard to Bassetlaw:

  • There should be a hub (either as a main base or as a satellite hub to Kings Mill) in the southern part of Bassetlaw near Markham Moor.
  • To provide Ambulance Cover for the many smaller towns & villages in the North & East of Bassetlaw, there should be more TAPs & stand by points in the larger settlements in this area such as Harworth, Misterton and Tuxford (all of which have a Fire Station) where Ambulances could be based when not dealing with an incident.
  • EMAS clarify what is counted as the initial response. Is it when a trained staff member arrives at the scene (either as a rapid responder or in an ambulance) or does a member of the public treating the casualty as a first aider count?
  • Monthly statistics for the response times in Bassetlaw (and all other council areas) are not only produced and independently audited but published in the local papers for all to see.