Saturday, 1 November 2014

More ambulances missing target response times as private spending rockets

The proportion of ambulances failing to arrive within eight minutes has increased by up to a fifth cent in west London


Ambulance waiting times across west London have shot up in the last six months, according to new figures.
The proportion of ambulances failing to arrive within eight minutes of being called in Brent rose from 22 per cent in March this year to 43 per cent in August.
There were also sharp increases in the percentage of ambulances missing the government's emergency response target in other west London boroughs, including Ealing (20 per cent) and Hounslow (15 per cent).
Across London, the proportion of ambulances missing the target doubled to 38 per cent during that period, the latest statistics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) show.
The huge rise comes as new figures show spending on private ambulances in London has increased tenfold in the last two years, from £795,635 in 2011/12 to £8,841,808 last year.
Labour's London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who highlighted the statistics, said they showed the huge strain being placed on the LAS at a time when its budget had been cut by £53 million.
"(The increase in response times) means patients with potentially life threatening conditions being left waiting far longer than they should be - the results could be devastating," he added.
"With the NHS in London facing massive financial challenges people will question why we are paying profit making companies to deliver blue light services."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "Generally, the ambulance service is performing well, arriving in under eight minutes in more than 75 per cent of the most critical cases.
"We know demand is rising, which is why we've employed almost 2,000 extra paramedics since May 2010 and provided £28m additional funding this year.
"Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only 6 per cent of the total NHS budget - an increase of just 1 per cent since May 2010."
PERCENTAGE OF AMBULANCES ARRIVING WITHIN THE TARGET TIME OF EIGHT MINUTES
BoroughTarget hit March 2014Target hit August 2014Percentage change
Brent78 per cent57 per cent-21
Ealing7858-20
Hammersmith & Fulham8165-16
Harrow8163-18
Hillingdon7965-14
Hounslow7560-15
Kensington & Chelsea8372-11
Westminster8570-15
London8162-19

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