999 crews need ex­tra £7m to reach tar­gets

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By STEPHEN TOP­PING news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

MANCH­ESTER’S am­bu­lance ser­vice needs mil­lions of pounds more in fund­ing to bring its per­for­mance up to scratch.

That is the find­ing of an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant, which says North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (NWAS) is £7m short of the in­vest­ment needed to prop­erly im­prove its per­for­mance.

The NHS trust - which runs the am­bu­lance ser­vice in Cheshire, Cum­bria, Greater Manch­ester, Lan­cashire and Mersey­side - has been work­ing on a per­for­mance im­prove­ment plan since Jan­uary.

As part of the plan, NWAS worked with con­sul­tants Oper­a­tional Re­search in Health (ORH) to see how it could make im­prove­ments in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the num­ber of rapid re­sponse ve­hi­cles and in­creas­ing the num­ber of dou­ble-crewed am­bu­lances it has, to make sure the cor­rect ve­hi­cle is sent out to pa­tients straight away.

ORH ad­vised that ad­di­tional in­vest­ment of £10m would be needed to make the im­prove­ments but at a Cheshire East Coun­cil scru­tiny com­mit­tee meet­ing, NWAS chiefs said the trust will re­ceive just £3m from com­mis­sion­ers de­pend­ing on hit­ting per­for­mance tar­gets.

Deb­bie Mallett, ser­vice de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Cheshire and Mersey­side at NWAS, said: “ORH is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that spe­cialises in re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of blue light ser­vices. It came in and un­der­took a re­view of our or­gan­i­sa­tion, of our fleet’s pro­file, of what re­con­fig­u­ra­tions we’ve got go­ing on across the re­gion. “It said that in or­der for us to meet the ex­pected per­for­mance stan­dards we would need £10m, but we’ve only re­ceived £3m. “That’s £7m we are ac­tu­ally short on - but we are not get­ting an­other £7m, we are only get­ting £3m.” Be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber this year, NWAS had an aver­age re­sponse time of eight min­utes 58 sec­onds for pa­tients in Cheshire East with crit­i­cal ‘cat­e­gory one’ is­sues - such as car­diac ar­rest - com­pared to the na­tional stan­dard tar­get of seven min­utes. At the same time, the aver­age re­sponse time for ‘cat­e­gory two’ in­ci­dents re­quir­ing rapid as­sess­ment or ur­gent trans­port - such as a heart at­tack, epilepsy or stroke - was 23 min­utes seven sec­onds, com­pared to the na­tional tar­get of 18 min­utes.

“We still see some chal­lenges over per­for­mance,” said Roger Jones, sec­tor man­ager at NWAS.

“Part of those chal­lenges are to do with the ac­tiv­ity lev­els that we cur­rently have, which are still in­creas­ing year on year.

“De­lays in other part of the [NHS] sys­tem cause us some de­lays as well, how­ever we have seen some im­prove­ments on the ‘cat­e­gory one’ per­for­mance, and cer­tainly the ‘cat­e­gory three and four’ per­for­mance, which is the lower acu­ity calls.”

NWAS is cur­rently un­der­go­ing a ‘ros­ter re­view’ to make sure its staff can meet pa­tient de­mand to fur­ther im­prove per­for­mance, while a con­sul­tant is now al­ways avail­able at the NWAS call cen­tre to pro­vide bet­ter as­sess­ments of pa­tients be­fore send­ing paramedics out.

The trust is also re­quired to find sav­ings of £9.8 mil­lion in 2018-19.

Am­bu­lances at Manch­ester Royal In­fir­mary

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.