Ambulances meeting emergency call target

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South East Coast Ambulance Service is meeting its overall target to reach people with life threatening conditions in eight minutes, but there is some variation in its monthly performance, a report said.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission, found the trust had managed to attend 75 per cent of immediate life threatening cases within eight minutes over a 12 month period. The target was set by the Department of Health (DoH).

But another report by the DoH published this week revealed it had failed to meet the target between June 2012 and February 2013. The variation did not affect its overall performance for the year.

A spokesman for the ambulance trust said the Category A calls make up 10 per cent of total call outs and they received an average response time of seven minutes across the region. He said: “We recognise that there can be variation in our performance in terms of response times throughout the year. While every effort is made to meet our performance targets at all times, variation can exist because of challenging weather conditions or unanticipated increases in demand – for example at times over the Christmas period, 999 call volume was more than 20 per cent higher than the previous year.”

The CQC report published in April found the trust was also meeting five out of seven of the care standards set out by the government. But it was failing in its management of medicines after inspectors found they were not being stored appropriately. The report said it was unclear if they had been kept at the correct temperature and were safe to use. Inspectors also said the trust was failing to support its workers. But staff said they felt pride working for the trust, and said their primary goal was patient care. Staff knew how to safeguard people from abuse and report concerns about patient welfare. The spokesman added: “Overall we are very pleased to have received some extremely positive feedback. We take the areas of concern very seriously but are confident that we can make the necessary changes to ensure these issues are rectified quickly. Work is already under way to address any concerns.”