East Midlands Ambulance Service labelled ‘a disgrace’ by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero following Kirkby blunders

nbua-15-11-12-ambulance - Generic East Midlands Ambulance photo.
nbua-15-11-12-ambulance - Generic East Midlands Ambulance photo.

Furious Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has labelled East Midlands Ambulance Service ‘a disgrace’ following two potentially life-threatening blunders in Kirkby.

EMAS took three times as long as expected to answer a 999 call on Pennyroyal Way made by Leanne Chiverton because they could not find the house.

Seven days later they then left Cheryl Patrick laying alone and in agony for hours on the stairs of her Roewood Close home because they did not have enough spare ambulances.

Figures obtained by Ms De Piero’s office show that EMAS is the worst performing service in the country at responding to category A call outs – which includes cardiac arrests and stroke patients - taking 489 seconds to respond.

Ms De Piero told Chad changes had to be introduced with immediate effect before someone died.

“The people of Ashfield are suffering from the performance levels of EMAS,” she said. “EMAS need to get their house in order and quickly, because what is happening right now is simply not acceptable. Nationally ambulances are arriving at category A calls a minute later than they were three years ago, at EMAS that figure is 2.3 minutes. This increased time can be the difference between life and death and it makes me very angry.”

Ms De Piero has now written to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to demand a response and answers on how he plans to resolve the ambulance crisis.

Said Ms De Piero: “EMAS are one of the worst in the country and changes need to be made urgently. I have written to Jeremy Hunt for answers and we will continue to push EMAS for answers when into what is going on.

“When you are in this job you think about how you would feel if something like this happened to your mum or a friend, and what happened is just not acceptable.

“No-one deserves to go through this, people need to have faith in their ambulance service. If anyone else has experienced similar problems they are welcome to get in touch with me and I will keep them in the loop.”

EMAS has since apologised for the horror no show and vowed to look into what went wrong.

A spokesperson said: “We are very sorry we were not able to respond promptly to Cheryl’s 999 call and have contacted her to find out more about her experiences.

“Whilst it’s clear we were under significant pressure at the time responding to life-threatening emergency calls.

“We are now investigating to find out exactly what happened and why. We will share our findings with Cheryl as soon as the investigation is complete.

“EMAS is an improving service and we hit all three national performance standards for the period April to June 2014.

“This is the first time we have achieved this since 2010 which demonstrates the actions we have taken recently are now starting to pay dividends. We are 100 per cent committed to building on this solid platform in the months ahead.”

They have also vowed to investigate the problems at Pennyroyal Way and say they have put new safety measures in place to prevent any future problems

He said: “As and when we hear about such Sat Nav issues we place warnings against those addresses/streets onto our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.

“These warnings then appear against any call taken for that address and are relayed to our frontline crews when they respond to any incidents in the given locations.

“EMAS can confirm that a warning has been placed against Pennyroyal Way in Kirkby, advising that access is off Kingsway and not to follow SatNav guidance from Lindleys Lane as a result of this incident,” a spokesman said.

Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service both told Chad that the local knowledge of their staff had helped them avoid any potential problems to date.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: “When we are called about an incident, the officers who are the closest to it are sent, this means they are more often than not local officers who are familiar with the area and thus can rely on their local knowledge.”

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Our crews are aware that the estate has restricted access but through their local knowledge they are able to easily navigate to the right access roads, so that response times are not affected.”