Less than half of the emergency calls to the ambulance service last year in north Norfolk were answered within eight minutes, and the percentage of ambulance staff reaching patients within nineteen minutes in 2012 dropped from 80.6% to 72.4%.
Although the overall targets are set by government for the whole of the region, the data seen by North Norfolk Labour Party shows in north Norfolk a decline in response times, and supports the concerns about reducing the number of double-staffed ambulances in the district.
The data shows that although there were fewer ‘red’ emergency calls in 2012 (4380 in 2012 compared to 4937 in 2011) the ambulance service has seen drops in the time it takes for first responders, rapid response vehicles, or ambulances to reach patients based on the A8 and A19 data drop dramatically last year.
North Norfolk Labour Party launched the Act on Ambulances campaign against cuts to the double-staffed ambulance hours in the district in July when it was announced there would be a reduction at the Cromer and North Walsham bases. Campaigners argued these government cuts were wrong when response times appeared to be worsening and because demand is increasing with our aging population.
The increase in demand is confirmed by the number of ‘green’ calls in north Norfolk which have risen to 10,288 (up from 9862 in 2011) – the highest number in the last five years.
Last week Labour revealed of the 7,000 weekly additional ambulance staff hours from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust 2,000 were being lost at the region’s hospitals, prompting more concern about hospital turnaround times.
Denise Burke, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party, said:
“These figures raise further doubts about the government’s programme of savings which is taking £50m from the ambulance service over the next 5 years and has seen the number of double-staffed ambulances in the county reduced.
With fewer emergency ‘red’ calls being met within the 8 minute and 19 minute targets, and an increase in the number of green calls in north Norfolk, there is a clear need for more ambulances – not less – in our district.
In 2013 we will continue to press local MPs who support cuts in the ambulance service to rethink their stance, and we want to see less talk and more action at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where there needs to be vast improvements in ambulance turnaround times.”