England

EMAS welcomes new ambulance targets

  • 1 April 2011
  • From the section England

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has said new performance targets should make "a big difference" to patients.

Responses to non-life threatening calls will now be assessed on care provided instead of crew response times.

James Gray, the service's medical director, said the changes would allow them to get the "right response, not just the nearest".

An eight-minute response target for more serious - or Category A - callouts will remain in place, he added.

The new "clinical quality indicators" have been introduced at all England's ambulance trusts by the Department of Health.

According to EMAS, they will allow the service to "look at the whole patient journey and so improve patient care and outcomes".

'Real difficulties'

Mr Gray said: "With the relatively tight time targets we've had until now, we end up having to send the nearest vehicle to the patient, and sometimes that's not the right vehicle for the patient's needs, especially in these less urgent cases.

"Often we're better to send a community paramedic or one of our emergency care practitioner staff who can assess the patient in their own home, treat them there or signpost them to a better form of healthcare for their needs such as a primary care or a walk-in centre."

EMAS has recently been criticised for failing to hit targets for responding to Category A, or life-threatening calls.

Mr Gray added: "It's been well documented that EMAS has had real difficulties in meeting its response targets over the last 18 months.

"Obviously we had some difficulty this year with the weather - we don't shy away from that, but that key target that we're judged on - the eight minute target - will remain, and we'll be continuing to strive to achieve that as well as these key quality indicators."

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