DERBYSHIRE: Ambulance service is at ‘breaking point’

editorial image

A shock report has claimed East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is at “breaking point” – as it is fined millions for failing to meet targets.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a damning inspection report highlighting a catalogue of problems at Derbyshire’s ambulance service.

However, bosses have stressed EMAS provides “quality clinical care” to thousands of patients.

According to the CQC’s report, one EMAS staff member claimed the service was at “breaking point”.

Another worker said: “We need more vehicles and more staff – we are busy all the time.”

The CQC’s report came as EMAS was fined £3.5m for failing to meet a national response time target.

The service is supposed to get an ambulance to 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes – but it missed this target by more than three per cent.

It is the third year in a row EMAS has been fined.

However, the service met the second target set by the NHS – to respond to 75 per cent of callers reporting a life-threatening emergency within eight minutes.

EMAS medical director Dr James Gray defended the service’s performance in the last year.

He said: “A tremendous amount of quality clinical care was provided to hundreds of thousands of people across the East Midlands.”

He added that EMAS’s controversial reorganisation programme – which will see the axe fall on ambulance stations in Matlock and Bakewell – will make a “significant contribution to improving performance”.

Dr Gray said it will cover issues such as “revising our staff rotas to ensure our resource levels match demand patterns” and the introduction of community ambulance stations.