Trust insists �250,000 investment has improved performance but MP claims ambulances can take up to two hours and sometimes do not arrive at all

AMBULANCES can take up to two hours to respond to calls in Fenland and sometimes do not arrive at all according to NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay.

Mr Barclay says he has dealt with “a worrying number of complaints” about ambulance response times this summer and they continue to be an ongoing problem.

The MP said: “Several constituents have raised concerns about the number of incidents where ambulances have been slow to respond.

“Recent reports, for example, have indicated ambulance wait times of up to two hours or not arriving at all.”

However the East of England Ambulance Trust insists “performance has improved and an ambulance will always be sent out under emergency conditions when one is needed”.

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A spokesman said the trust is investing �250,000 to put measures in place which over the last two months have seen “significant improvements in performance with eight minute target at 77.03%

“This is in part thanks to more appropriate responses to lower priority calls. “

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The trust says approximately 900 such calls a week now go through the control room clinical support desks where patients are assessed further by a trained nurse and can be directed to more appropriate treatment.

“Therefore in cases where an emergency 999 response isn’t warranted an ambulance is no longer sent out unnecessarily so it can be available for emergency patients,” said the spokesman.

“Alternatively patients may have to wait for an hour, which is the target response for the lowest priority calls. Calls are categorised in this way, similar to A&E departments to ensure life threatened patients can take precedence.”

Data published by the Department for Health says that Category A calls - which are life threatening situations - have a target response time of eight minutes in 75 per cent of cases, and of 19 minutes within 95 per cent of cases.

Mr Barclay said: “Last year, the East of England Ambulance Trust scraped over that target, but was one of the worst performers with 75.4 per cent of calls meeting it.

“It was also one of only two Trusts to fall short of the 95 per cent of calls to receive an emergency response within 19 minutes. In June, it was the only Trust that failed to achieve that standard.”

Mr Barclay said: “How long does a resident in the East of England have to wait when the targets for Category A calls are missed? And what is the range of response times for Category C calls?

“If the trusts are able to publish the proportion of incidents where targets were met, data covering the full range of response times must exist.”

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