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Paramedics fail to meet critical targets

PUBLISHED: 16:48 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 12 August 2010

PARAMEDICS are persistently missing targets for reaching critically and seriously- ill people. London Ambulance Service (LAS) is supposed to respond to at least 75 per cent of category A calls, which means the person is in a life-threatening condition,

PARAMEDICS are persistently missing targets for reaching critically and seriously- ill people.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) is supposed to respond to at least 75 per cent of category A calls, which means the person is in a life-threatening condition, within eight minutes.

But in Bromley crews have only managed to hit this figure once in the last six months, in January this year. That figure could increase following the closure of the A&E at nearby Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, meaning more emergencies could be diverted to Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health, which sets the targets, said: "Long waiting times for an ambulance are unacceptable and we have made it clear that ambulance response time targets need to be met. Trusts are making massive improvements across all aspects of their services to deliver at the required performance levels.

"Where category A and B response time targets are not being met, Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts are working with trusts to improve performance."

LAS is also falling short of targets for responding to Category B calls in Bromley, which means the patient is in a serious condition. It has not once managed to meet the criteria of attending 95 per cent of these incidents within 19 minutes in the last six months.

The figures, from December last year to May this year, are the latest available. LAS said the targets were presenting them with a 'significant challenge'.

In December 2008, the Trust hit a six month low, responding to just 81 per cent of Category B calls within 19 minutes. The closest it came to hitting the target was in January this year when it responded to 93 per cent of serious calls in the set time.

Calls are logged as categories of A- immediately life threatening, B- serious but non life-threatening and C- neither life threatening nor serious.

A spokesperson for LAS said: "The target of meeting 95 per cent of category B calls within 19 minutes represents a significant challenge across London, which we are working hard to achieve.

"This year our focus is on continuing to achieve the government's target of reaching 75 per cent of our most seriously ill or injured patients within eight minutes, as well as improving our response times for our Category B patients.

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