October 3, 2008

Response Times Beat the Targets

MORE patients are receiving an ambulance faster than ever before in the North East of England, according to newly released official figures.

In 2007/08, the North East Ambulance Service received a record 398,000 emergency and urgent calls.

The Trust responded to 99.1% of cases which were immediately life- threatening within 19 minutes and reached 78.5% of these cases within eight minutes - exceeding all national targets for ambulance response performance.

The Trust's performance in reaching life-threatening calls is the quickest ever in the service's history.

The speedy response to lifethreatening calls, which involved 79,000 incidents in the year from April 2007 to March 2008, means that the North East has one of the fastest ambulance services to the most number of patients with lifethreatening conditions in the country.

Simon Featherstone, chief executive of North East Ambulance Service, said: "I am really proud of all our staff who have worked very hard over the past year to respond to the calls from patients in need across the North East even quicker.

"Our staff on the front line in A&E and PTS services and our contact centres all do a tremendous job, but their success is part of a team effort which also involves our support staff working hard to keep front line services running all the time.

"We also recognise that due to geography it's not always possible to meet response time targets in rural areas, however we are working closely with local communities to look at how these can be improved."

The official figures show that NEAS made 255,000 emergency and doctors' urgent journeys in the year and carried out another one million planned hospital out-patient journeys.

The service also reached 95.3% of all serious cases which were not life-threatening within 19 minutes - one of only three ambulance services in the country which achieved this national target.

Paul Liversidge, director of ambulance operations, said: "The quicker we get to patients, the better the outcome is likely to be, particularly in life-threatening conditions. However, ambulance crews do much more than provide transport to hospital - they are very skilled and becoming even more so, treating more patients in the community instead of unnecessarily taking them to A&E.

"Last year, we were able to treat one in four cases that we attended on scene or in their home instead of making an inappropriate trip to the A&E department which offers greater benefits for all patients in the region."

The full report can be found at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/ambserv0708

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.