Monday, 7 November 2016

London Ambulance Service failing to meet response times due to 'increase in serious call-outs'

A dramatic increase in the number of urgent call outs has put added strain on ambulances, according to London Ambulance Services

London Ambulance Service are struggling to meet response time targets, according to a union

The ambulance service for west London has said it is struggling to meet its response time targets because the most serious incidents have increased by more than 21,000 since last year.
GMB Southern, the union for ambulance staff, published data which showed that London Ambulance Service (LAS) was struggling to meet its eight minute target response times in Red One and Red two incidents – the two most serious categories.
According to GMB, LAS met 68.7% of its Red One response times between January and August, and 63.3% of Red Two calls.
LAS put the figures down to a dramatic increase in priority cases between April and August this year, compared to the same period last year.
Director of operations at the ambulance service, Paul Woodrow, said: “Between April and August this year, we saw an 11% increase in category A incidents, involving our most critically ill or injured patients, compared with the same period last year.
“However, we have continued to improve our response rates over this period, reaching 12,390 more Category A incidents within eight minutes – 81 a day – compared with the same time frame last year.”
Mr Woodrow said the 11% increase represented an extra 21,778 serious incidents, or 142 a day, than last year.
Red One incidents are the most serious incidents involving cardiac arrest or where a person stops breathing, and LAS aims to respond within eight minutes.
Red Two emergencies are all other life threatening emergencies, and also have a target response time of eight minutes.
These response times are national requirements.
Staff shortages have been blamed
GMB's regional secretary, Paul Maloney, said: “The government has created conditions which means 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.
“With vacancy levels at over 1,000 in the ambulance service, the government must act fast if they want to seriously try and hit the response time targets.”
GMB's statistics put LAS as the second best for Red One and Red Two targets in the south east, behind South Central Ambulance Service.
For the year to August there were a total of 15,121 Red One calls and 511,444 Red Two.
London Ambulance Service said that to help them respond to the sickest patients quickly, Londoners should only call in a genuine emergency and consider other options such as NHS 111 for non-urgent medical advice.
BY


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