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Concern over response times to 999 patients
CONCERNS have been raised about the length of time it is taking ambulances to reach 999 patients in the York area.
Figures have shown 71.4 per cent of the most serious “Red 1” medical emergencies, such as heart attacks and respiratory arrests, are being reached in eight minutes but 28.6 per cent have not been in the year to date.
Meanwhile 74.5 per cent of other life-threatening emergencies in the York area classed as “Red 2” have been reached within eight minutes so far this year.
The figures have been discussed by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group which has raised concerns that the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has breached its target times.
Speaking at the meeting Keith Ramsay, lay member of the Vale of York CCG, said: “The poor performance of YAS has gone on for long enough.”
John McEvoy, the managing partner of the Haxby Group, asked what was happening to the people not reached within the timeframe.
But despite the concerns raised, the report found YAS was not far away from meeting its targets.
In July, it breached its 75 per cent target of reaching the most serious “Red 1” 999 calls by one patient and breached its “Red 2” 999 calls of people in life-threatening emergencies by seven patients.
Of the most critical “Red 1” patients, 5.4 per cent still have not been reached by an ambulance 19 minutes after the call has been made – breaching the target of getting to 95 per cent of critical emergencies by one patient.
Dr Phil Underwood, partner at Scott Road Medical Centre in Selby, raised additional concerns that in order to try and meet target response times, YAS was sending paramedics in responder cars which cannot take patients to hospital.
He said cars were being sent to his patients as when they arrive “the clock stops” but they then had to wait half an hour before an ambulance arrives to transport them to hospital.
However, Phil Bainbridge, head of ambulance service emergency operations in North Yorkshire, said the rural nature of North Yorkshire posed challenges for response times and said its performance for reaching the most serious cases across North Yorkshire and York is 75.41 per cent in the year to date.
He said: “We are currently carrying out a Trust-wide review to look at the ever-increasing demands on our 999 service and staff, and explore ways of how we can work differently and more efficiently to support our emergency cover both now and in the future.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that patients’ needs at the heart everything we do.”
Last month The Press reported how proposals had been made to cut the number of double-manned ambulances in York and Selby and increase cars with one paramedic.
Paramedics said cars were being used to meet target times and warned the changes would put lives at risk as patients could not be transferred to hospital by car.
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