Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 12:31 UK

Control room change over targets

The East of England Ambulance Service said it needs to spend 4m and recruit 200 more employees to meet new government response time targets.

From 1 April, all category A calls - the most urgent - must be responded to within eight minutes, under Department of Health guidelines.

Response times used to be measured from after a 999 call ended, now they are measure from when the call is answered.

The service said this means it has one minute less to get to an incident.

Better technology

Under the old system, 76% of all Category A calls were reached within eight minutes.

However, on the new basis this would have dropped to 66% for the service.

The ambulance service, which serves Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire Norfolk and Suffolk, said changing methods in the control room was the only way it could continue to meet its targets.

Alex Foundos, of the ambulance service, told the BBC: "It will make the performance standards much more difficult to meet.

"We need to make up that time with better technology, with increased systems and with increased numbers of staff."

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