Dr Bob Winter, East Midlands Ambulance Service Medical Director said: “We are committed to responding to as many patients as safely and quickly as we can with the resource base that we have.
“The Ambulance Response Programme (ARP) is not about the fastest response, but the most appropriate clinical response for each patient.
“NHS England recognises that there needs to be a period of readjustment and ambulance services are not expected therefore to meet the new standards until April 2018.”
1. Despite not yet having an operational model (eg the number of ambulances and cars and staff skill mix) to match the new Ambulance Response Programme, and until the recent huge pressure faced across the NHS, some initial benefits have been experienced since joining the ARP, including:
- More efficient use of ambulance resources with, in the main, one ambulance resource being sent per incident, apart from Category 1 calls where we continue to send more than one resource to provide the best possible care to people in the most critical condition.
- Fewer ambulance stand downs, particularly for fast response cars giving them capacity to respond to other calls.
- A reduction in end of shift over run has been experienced. This is better for colleagues and means the ambulance vehicle is back at station ready to go out again with the next ambulance crew coming on duty.
2. However there are on-going challenges that we are working hard to address:
- Our Trust Board has a fundamental belief that there is a resourcing gap despite the efficiencies made at EMAS, and discussions with our commissioners on the level of funding and resource required continue.
- The huge pressure faced by the NHS over recent weeks has seen many of our ambulance crews and patients kept waiting at hospital. If our ambulances are at hospital with a patient they are not able to respond to new calls coming in. Subsequently, patients in the community can experience a delayed response to their 999 call. We have continued to escalate our concerns to our commissioners and regulators about patient safety, and we continue to work very closely with NHS and social care partners to improve the welfare of our patients and staff.
3. Please refer to the NHS England website for more details about the national Ambulance Response Programme: or speak to NHS England Senior Media Relations Manager, Murray Morse via 07876 851850.
4. East Midlands Ambulance Service joined the NHS England ARP pilot on 19 July 2017. See our media release from that time for details.