Serious incidents on rise in 999 services
Ambulance service data from last year
A PATIENT falling from a trolley or wheelchair, confidentiality being breached, and delayed responses are just some of the serious incidents involving the ambulance service last year.
Exclusive data reveals there were 40 “serious incidents” involving the East Midlands ambulance service that occurred in 2017/18.
A “serious incident” is defined as one in which the consequences to a patient or the “potential for learning” are so significant as to warrant a comprehensive response.
One case involved a patient falling from a trolley or chair while in the care of the ambu- lance service.
Another incident was recorded as a “confidentiality breach”, although no further details are given.
Some 15 incidents were classed as “serious” because the ambulance was delayed in arriving to the scene.
Others included incorrect call coding, issues with safeguarding patients, call handling, and care management.
One patient received an “inappropriate assessment” from ambulance staff - although the data does not identify what the consequences were.
The number of serious incidents has actually fallen in the East Midlands.
It stood at just 45 in 2015/16 and 44 in 2016/17, according to data from to a Freedom of Information request to the East Midlands ambulance service.
Paul Benton, deputy director of the East Midlands ambulance service, said: “Patient safety is always our priority. The total number of emergency and urgent calls we receive has risen by almost 10 per cent
from 2015/16 to 2017/18 while the number of serious incidents has fallen but we are, of course, always working to learn lessons from all incidents.
“Most incidents during 2017/18 related to delayed responses. Earlier this year we announced a £9m investment which will fund extra staff, vehicles and other resources to help us respond more quickly and more consistently to our patients. More than 200 new colleagues are joining our service this month to begin their frontline training.”
An NHS Improvement spokesperson said: “Patient safety is a priority for the NHS, so we expect ambulance services to do everything they can to prevent serious incidents from occurring.
“We have introduced the Ambulance Response Programme to improve clinical outcomes for patients, particularly those with life threatening illness and injury. This programme enables ambulance services to prioritise the sickest patients, so they receive the fastest response whilst maintaining a clear focus on the needs of all patients dialling 999.”