Lincolnshire County Council wants its own ambulance service

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LINCOLNSHIRE should run its own ambulances as the current service is failing, according to the county council.

East Midlands Ambulance Service bosses were called before Lincolnshire county councillors on Wednesday to explain why they are not meeting their targets.

But members of the council’s health scrutiny committee were not satisfied with the reasons given by ambulance service director of finance and performance Brian Brewster and director of operations Peter Ripley.

Committee chairman Coun Christine Talbot (Con) said: “It’s time Lincolnshire was back in charge of Lincolnshire so we are in control of our own destiny.

“We’ve asked Emas to return to our committee in February to outline improvements and I’ll be meeting with Emas’ chairman to see how we can work in a more integrated way.

“We may ultimately suggest to Government that the county sees a return to a dedicated Lincolnshire ambulance service.”

The Government wants ambulance services to send a paramedic or first responder to 75 per cent of patients whose life is in danger within eight minutes. An ambulance and crew should be on the scene within 19 minutes 95 per cent of the time.

But the county council was told that in May this year, only 73 per cent of calls in Lincolnshire were met by a paramedic or first responder within eight minutes, and 86 per cent were met by an ambulance and crew within 19 minutes. The figures were similar for April.

The ambulance service argues that it is commissioned by NHS Lincolnshire to cover a division that includes North and North East Lincolnshire, but councillors did not accept that as an excuse.

Coun Talbot added: “Emas admitted that they were not happy with the service being delivered for Lincolnshire, but they continually refer to the fact that they are meeting targets for their division as a whole.

“That is of no comfort to the 700,000 people of Lincolnshire who deserve better and should not be made to feel of lower priority because of divisional bandings.”

NHS Lincolnshire contributed £21.5m for emergency ambulance provision in Lincolnshire.

Director of operations for Emas Pete Ripley defended the regional service, saying it had more resources available to it during major incidents and could share expertise and personnel between counties in a way that a more localised service could not.

He added: “The ambulance service isn’t just about a fast response. Safe and quality clinical care is vital to the outcome of the patient and at Emas we are working together, across our divisions, and with the local health community to continue to provide that.”