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Response faster on 999 calls

Thursday, 11th April 2002.

Ambulance bosses have congratulated crews for bringing about a dramatic improvement in response times despite a massive increase in 999 calls.

East Anglian Ambulance Service was given until April 1 to achieve the new Government target of arriving at 75 per cent of life-threatening category A emergency calls within eight minutes.

In March crews exceeded the target, reaching 75.11 per cent. It represents an impressive turnaround for the service which saw responses at less than 45 per cent little more than two years ago.

Paul Sutton, director of operations, said: ‘Staff have had to adapt very quickly to probably the biggest changes ever seen in the ambulance service, and they’ve done it superbly.

‘We’ve effectively squeezed two years’ work into one to achieve the target on time, and in the last two or three months all the pieces of the jigsaw have come together.

“But the fact remains that this is the most rural area in the country and we need to work hard to maintain this performance and then move towards 80 and 90 per cent, which is our ultimate aim.”

Crucial to the service’s success have been initiatives funded by the three former health authorities of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

These included the introduction of 20 community paramedics based in rural GP surgeries, an extra 100 staff, the establishment of mini-ambulance stations, extra rapid response vehicles, and a new Computer Aided Dispatch system.

Earlier this year, a mini-ambulance station was opened in Jedburgh Court, in the north of Cambridge. Traffic congestion meant getting to the area from the main base in the south could be difficult.

A spokesman for the service said: “There are crews on standby around the city, but rather than sitting in a layby, this gives paramedics access to facilities.”

Haverhill Weekly News

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