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Delays Put North West Patients At Risk

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ambulance Delays In North West A&E Departments Are Putting Patients In Danger

Ambulance workers should not be expected to look after patients in hospital corridors while people are suffering in the street says GMB

GMB, the union for ambulance staff, said delays in North West A&E departments are now putting patients’ lives at risk. (See notes to editors for a copy of a previous GMB press release on ambulance response times).

NWAS data shows that on Monday, 29th March 2016, over 300 ambulances waited longer than an hour to handover patients, with two ambulances waiting as long as six hours, resulting in them being unavailable for life threatening calls. Delays also often result in solo paramedics in rapid response cars being left on scenes with patients in life threatening conditions for similar amounts of time.

Severe delays in patient handovers have continued in recent years despite a report from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) in 2012 that detailed a move towards a zero tolerance policy on delays.

Lisa Ryan, GMB regional organiser, said “Ambulance staff have seen a significant rise in calls especially those with serious and life threatening conditions in the past months. Those calls are now being stacked within control rooms due to no vehicles being available to send.

Staff are now at breaking point; increasingly frustrated, hanging around hospital corridors knowing that patients in the community are waiting for their help. They should not be expected to look after patients in hospital corridors while people suffer in the street.”

End

Contact: Lisa Ryan on 07703 468 968 or GMB press office on 07739 182691 or 07970 863411

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Thursday, March 10, 2016

GMB analysis shows 30% of life or death emergency calls are not responded to within 8 minutes

Proper investment and full recognition of skills is needed to solve the problems around the recruitment and retention of ambulance staff says GMB.

GMB, the union for ambulance staff, has analysed new data that shows ambulance services across England are consistently failing to achieve vital targets set for response times.

According to data for January Red 1 emergency calls, those involving life threatening respiratory or heart issues, were responded to within 8 minutes only 69.9% of the time. This amounts to almost 5,000 emergency calls that were not reached within 8 minutes.

For Red 2 calls, all other life threatening emergencies, only 63.3% of calls were responded to within 8 minutes amounting to 107,582 emergency calls that missed the vital 8 minute window.

The target for these categories of emergencies is to reach patients within 8 minutes at least 75% of the time. January is the 8th consecutive month in which the UK ambulance service has not met targets set for red 1 emergencies.

PERFORMANCE TARGETS FOR AMBULANCE TRUSTS IN ENGLAND FOR JAN 2016 COMPARED TO JAN 2016

 

Red 1 - proportion

responded to in 8 mins

Red 2 - proportion

responded to in 8 mins

 

Jan-15

Jan-16

Change

Jan-15

Jan-16

Change

England

71.6%

69.9%

-1.7%

67.6%

63.3%

-4.2%

East Midlands Ambulance

Service NHS Trust

68.5%

61.7%

-6.8%

65.1%

49.6%

-15.5%

East of England Ambulance

Service NHS Trust

73.5%

69.6%

-3.9%

64.9%

58.3%

-6.7%

Isle of Wight NHS Trust

77.8%

60.4%

-17.4%

75.7%

75.1%

-0.6%

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

68.6%

67.4%

-1.2%

59.9%

60.9%

1.1%

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

71.1%

62.9%

-8.2%

75.2%

61.2%

-14.0%

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

65.5%

69.3%

3.8%

65.5%

63.5%

-2.0%

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

75.5%

71.9%

-3.6%

76.8%

71.1%

-5.6%

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

76.4%

72.0%

-4.4%

69.9%

62.8%

-7.2%

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

74.9%

71.9%

-3.0%

67.9%

60.6%

-7.3%

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

75.3%

77.8%

2.6%

74.0%

74.7%

0.7%

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

70.6%

69.0%

-1.6%

67.2%

71.9%

4.6%

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for NHS staffs, said “The situation is at critical when 30% of life or death emergency calls are not responded to within 8 minutes. The government has created conditions which mean the public now have to wait longer for the ambulance service to respond.

High vacancy rates and staff shortages mean existing staff have to shoulder more responsibility and crews responding to 999 calls are not adequately staffed. The service needs if we are to retain staff. The current leaving rate in England of 6.1% for qualified ambulance staff is outstripping the joining rate of 4.3%. The situation is getting worse.

With vacancy levels at over 1,200 in the ambulance service, the Government must act fast if they want to seriously try and hit the response time targets. Jeremy Hunt is acting irresponsibly, proper investment and full recognition of skills is needed to solve the problems around the recruitment and retention of ambulance staff.”

End

2 Web links

2012 AACE Zero Tolerance report

http://aace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Zero_tolerance061212.pdf

2013 NHS Effective Approaches in Urgent and Emergency Care report

http://www.nhsimas.nhs.uk/fileadmin/Files/IST/Paper_4_-_Improving_Ambulance_Handover_2013.pdf

 

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