Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Lincolnshire's ambulance response times reviewed

A review of Lincolnshire's ambulance service is under way after it was revealed patients in rural areas were waiting longer in emergencies.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has been set a target of responding to three-quarters of life-threatening calls within eight minutes.

Overall the service is hitting the target across the county.

But in some eastern areas up to a third of patients are waiting too long. The county council is investigating.

In some parts of the east of the county 66% of life-threatening calls were answered within the target eight minutes during April to November 2009, compared with 76.88% across the county overall.

'Winter weather pressures'

EMAS put the discrepancy down to the "general rurality", road infrastructure and delays in receiving patients at accident and emergency departments in hospitals.

Councillor Christine Talbot, chair of the scrutiny committee that has ordered the "rapid review", said: "Lincolnshire is funded 20.4% above everyone else in the East Midlands but we're still not managing to meet these important targets."

The review is expected to be completed within eight weeks.

A spokesman for EMAS said: "Our aim is to get to people as quickly as possible in their time of need and we are continuously delivering improvements in the way we treat and care for the people we serve."

Dr Martin McShane, of NHS Lincolnshire, said the Primary Care Trust will continue to monitor the service provided by EMAS.

He added: "Improvements have been made to response times since April 2008 - nevertheless targets will have been affected by a substantial increase in winter pressures and bad weather."



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