Ambulance services under pressure

The Nuffield Trust have released a report into the growing pressures on ambulance services. The report found response times have decreased, and the morale of staff remains among the lowest of all the NHS workforce.

The Nuffield Trust found in January that only 88 percent of responses to Category A calls (the most serious calls) resulted in an ambulance at the scene within 19 minutes, instead of the target of 95 percent. On top of this, the cases of ambulances being diverted to other hospitals increased from 266 to 478, around an 80 percent increase.

Richard Webber, a practising senior paramedic and national spokesperson for the College of Paramedics, said: “Diverts from A&E departments have an impact on paramedics’ ability to reach seriously ill and injured patients in an appropriate timeframe.”

Another problem highlighted by the report is the low morale among staff. Compared to all acute and community staff, ambulance staff tended to report feeling less satisfied or respond more negatively in the NHS Staff Survey. For example, asked whether there are enough staff to enable them to do their job properly, 21 per cent of ambulance staff agreed but 61 per cent disagreed.