East Midlands Ambulance Service fined £3.5m for missing response time target

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The region’s ambulance service has been fined for a third year running after failing to meet national response time targets.

East Midlands Ambulance Service is supposed to get an ambulance to 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes.

But the service missed this target, which is set by the NHS, by more than three per cent in 2012/13 and has now been fined £3.5m.

The service did meet the target of reaching 75 per cent of life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes.

And it has been revealed that in an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in March, the service also failed to meet the required standards in the care and welfare of those who used it, and its support of staff.

The report said people could not be assured they would receive care in a timely and effective manner, and the service did not have enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs.

Emas is set to close ambulance stations across the region, including those in Stamford, Bourne and Oakham, as part of changes announced in March. It is planning to replace them with nine hubs, 19 new stations and 108 community posts.

Emas medical director Dr James Gray, insisted that a large amount of “quality care” was provided during the period of review.

He added: “A tremendous amount of quality clinical care was provided to hundreds of thousands of people across the East Midlands during the 2012/13 year.

“The speed at which an ambulance response is given to an emergency call is important.

“There are also other elements that are as vital when providing emergency medical care.”

Coun Christine Talbot (Con), chairman of Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, said: “People in Lincolnshire need to have confidence in their ambulance service.”

The council has referred Emas’s consultation process to the Secretary of State and asked representatives to attend the next health scrutiny committee to answer further questions.