How can this be good service?

Well done. Our local ambulance provider, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), has been rated '˜Good' following an inspection carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Saturday, 12th November 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:13 pm

How this rating can be justified is difficult to fathom.

The report stated that: “Between April 2015 and March 2016, out of 11 national ambulance trusts, NEAS was the joint worst performing ambulance service in NHS with responses within the target or Red 1 (serious emergency calls) performance. There was a downward trend in the proportion of Red 1 calls responded to within eight minutes between June 2015 and March 2016.”

Furthermore, the CQC noted that NEAS was failing to meet national standards for responding to eight minute Red 2 calls, and there had been a downward trend in response times to calls expected to be reached within 19 minutes.

If that was not bad enough, since the periods covered by the report, standards slipped still further between April and June 2016, with only 60.75 per cent (64.8 per cent in April 2016 against a 75 per cent national standard) of Red eight minute calls reached in that time, and only 82.22 per cent (87.06 per cent in April 2016 against a national standard of 95 per cent) of calls rated less serious with a 19 minute response time.

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These Northumberland figures are, of course, averages for the whole county. I would guess response times in this area are still way below these abysmal levels.

So how can the CQC rate the service as ‘Good’ in the face of such a performance?

By lumping other ‘quality indicators’ in with an assessment of emergency response times, and by taking averages, NEAS comes out above the national average.

So, NEAS isn’t the worst. Big deal.

I am sure this knowledge will be of considerable comfort to someone waiting for an ambulance to attend an emergency.

Colin Wakeling

Berrington Lough