Wendy Hazard – Ambulance Operations Manager (Communications and Engagement, Nottinghamshire) and Keith Underwood - Ambulance Operations Manager (Planning and Performance) will provide the presentation on behalf of East Midlands Ambulance Service.
An update presentation was provided by the East Midlands Ambulance Services (EMAS). Wendy Hazard – Ambulance Operations Manager (Communications and Engagement, Nottinghamshire) and Alastair Smith – Duty Operations Manager attended the meeting.
Following the presentation a question and answer session ensued as follows:
A Member asked what the cost of an emergency vehicle was. It was confirmed approx. £125 - £135,000. Seven new vehicles would be purchased; the emergency vehicle was not as expensive as the A&E vehicles. The average fleet life span in the past was seven years, which had been reduced to five years as the vehicles clocked high mileage.
A Member asked whether the recruitment proposals were realistic and how long it took to train a Paramedic. It was confirmed that the training programme for a Paramedic was three years; an Ambulance Technician could be trained a lot quicker. The £19 million funding was against performance standards and would have to be paid back if the performance was not achieved.
A Member commented on a past presentation from EMAS to the External Relations and Partnership Committee which had indicated that EMAS was poorly funded in comparison to the rest of the country. It was confirmed that the West Midlands had received better funding in the past; however the increased funding had bridged that gap.
A Member commented that Newark & Sherwood had now received an additional 112 hours per week for their crew and asked what was the base line? It was confirmed that there had been an additional 25% increase in the Crew.
A Member sought clarification regarding hand over times in hospitals. It was confirmed that Queens Medical Centre was a major trauma centre and was good at hand overs in A&E due to good facilities. Kings Mill Hospital was a small hospital, if there was a steady flow they could cope; however when there was an influx of ambulances the handover times could be over the 30 minutes threshold. Lincoln Hospital did cause the Ambulance crew problems due to capacity. Lincoln had only one hospital and its A&E department had not expanded and was an old facility dealing with new pressures.
A Member sought clarification regarding ambulance response times and how did the crew cope when they were stood down from a call. It was confirmed that a new system was in place when a call was taken which gave 4 minutes for the right job to be allocated to the correct vehicle. It was confirmed that the crew may still be stood down from a category 3 (CAT3) job to attend a category 1 (CAT1) job if they were the nearest ambulance. It was confirmed that the 4 minutes had made a difference and the vehicles worked actively on the road.
A Member asked what the Leisure and Environment Committee could do to get the message out regarding categorising CAT1 & CAT2 calls. It was confirmed that the public did not need to worry about what category the call was as the call centre operated on a triage system. Accurate information regarding the address and patient conditions was the most important thing for the caller to confirm and to update the call centre should the patient’s condition change for the better or worse during the waiting time. The public could be educated regarding when to use the 999 service.
A Member commented on a visit that he had attended to the Emergency Services Call Centre at Nottingham and whilst the centre was fascinating he felt distressed at some of the call that were received and the number of people that were isolated within their community. He felt that Members could create more opportunities for support and get people more involved in their communities.
The Chairman thanked the representatives for their informative presentation and was pleased that more funding had been made available.
AGREED that the presentation be noted.