Ambulance service getting back on track

Ambulance response times in the East Midlands are improving, the trust responsible has said this week.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) provided the assurance that they were improving when they attended a follow-up meeting with health chiefs after October’s risk summit, which was called in response to deteriorating response times.

The trust told NHS England and lead commissioner Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that it is getting back on track and continuing to show improvements in performance.

But NHS England and the CCG have warned EMAS that they expect a continued improvement and will continue to monitor them closely, particularly in respect of response times. EMAS’s improved performance in January was noted and the trust said it was now focused on delivering the national targets by the end of March.

Chief Executive Sue Noyes said: “It means a lot to us to gain assurances from both NHS England and the CCG that we are an improving organisation.

“These messages will be a real boost for staff who have worked particularly hard throughout the winter months to make improvements at the same time as responding to thousands of emergency calls.

“However, we are not complacent in any way, and although we are now well on the way in this big journey, we know we still have a long way to go to offer consistently high quality services to every patient, every time.

“I am very clear, open and realistic about the work that we still need to do, particularly in the areas of staffing numbers and mix, professional development, vehicle availability at the start of shifts, and working with our staff to improve morale.”

EMAS recently announced that it was putting its plans to close ambulance stations across the area on hold, so that they could focus on improving response times.

Improvements planned for the forthcoming year as part of the trust’s Better Patient Care programme include increasing staff morale and better use and availability of vehicles at the start of shifts.