Ambulance Target Times 'Could Double'

Three Million People Could Be Affected By Changes, Says Leaked Report

22.12.2014

A leaked report has revealed a proposal to lengthen target times that ambulances must meet when reaching seriously ill patients, including those affected by stroke or seizures.

The plans address the time taken to reach patients designated as Red 2, which is anyone facing "serious but not the most life-threatening" injuries, with the report suggesting this is raised from eight to 19 minutes in England from the first week of January 2015.

The proposal is awaiting confirmation from medical directors for ten ambulance trusts and is already said to have been given the green light from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Department of Health has, however, underlined the fact that no decisions have yet been made and that timings would only be altered to improve response times for the most urgent Red 1 cases – which include cases of cardiac arrest, choking and major bleeding.

A spokesman said: "We have given ambulances an extra £50m this winter to ensure the service remains sustainable and the Secretary of State agreed that NHS England should investigate a proposal from the ambulance services themselves to see whether the service they offer the public could be improved."

Expert Opinion
It is vital that extra care is taken when it comes to making decisions regarding the target times that ambulances must meet.

"Our work on behalf of those left with serious health problems as a result of failings in care and treatment means we have seen just how important it is for patients to always get access to timely care and support when they need it the most.

"The needs of patients must be central to any decision made on this issue, with their welfare and safety always coming first."
Mandy Luckman, Partner