Emergency ambulance responses in East Midlands amongst slowest in the country

East Midlands Ambulance Service
East Midlands Ambulance Service

Ambulance response times in the East Midlands to some of the most critical call-outs were amongst the slowest in the country, despite having more emergency vehicles available.

According to a Freedom of Information request carried out by euroclinix, in 2017/18 response times for Category 1 calls - those involving life-threatening injuries or illnesses - could be as long as two hours, 18 minutes and 52 seconds.

The expected response time for Category 1 calls is just seven minutes.

Meanwhile, over the same period, East Midlands Ambulance Service had the highest number of emergency response vehicles available - 13.73 ambulances per 100,000 people.

Only Yorkshire performed poorer, with responses recorded as slow as two hours, 41 minutes and 47 seconds.

But the service had fewer ambulances with just 9.25 vehicles per 100,000 people, the figures suggest.

However, East Midlands ambulances dealt with the fifth highest demand in the UK, averaging 999.34 responses per vehicle from August 2017 to July 2018.

Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, Category 1 response times were as slow as 55 minutes, while in the North West it was one hour, three minutes and eight seconds.

The trust was asked to provide details of monthly median response times to Category 1 to 4 call-outs, the quickest and slowest response time to Category 1, 2, 3 and 4 incidents, a monthly total of how many emergency calls were made, and a yearly total of how many emergency vehicles were available.

EMAS said that the two hour, 18 minutes and 52 seconds response was not representative of their average response time to Category 1 call.

Ben Holdaway, Director of Operations for East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “In 2017/18, our average response time was nine minutes to Category 1 calls – the most seriously life-threatening calls we receive. Last month, our average response to Category 1 calls was seven minutes 40 seconds.

“The average national response standard for ambulance services is seven minutes, which we continue to work towards.

“Following a formal review undertaken jointly with commissioners, they acknowledged that we required an additional £9m investment for 2018/19 for extra clinical staff, ambulances and other resources to help us respond more quickly and more consistently to 999 calls. We are still in discussions about funding for future years.

“We currently have more than 300 additional staff joining the service, have introduced 68 new emergency ambulances and are currently taking delivery of 27 additional ambulances to enable our new staff to respond to emergencies.”

To view the report, go to https://www.euroclinix.net/en/vc/call-and-response/#/