£3.5M fine for response times

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), which serves Belper, has been fined £3.5 million after missing a key national target for reaching patients in life-threatening emergencies.

The penalty was levied by the group that commissions it because the service missed the nationally determined NHS response-time standard between April 2012 and March 13.

It is supposed to get an ambulance to 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes, but EMAS missed this by more than three per cent — only two of ten ambulance trusts across the county failed on this front.

However, it did achieve a target of reaching 75 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes and bosses say things are improving.

In March, bosses approved a re-structure which means Belper Ambulance Station at Babington Hospital will be be either shut or downgraded to become a community ambulance postover the next five years.

EMAS chief executive, Phil Milligan, insisted the figures showed performance had turned a corner.

He said: “East Midlands Ambulance Service is improving, the evidence is clear. We achieved for the second year running the eight-minute target for life-threatening emergencies, so that’s a major improvement in the past 18 months.

“The performance on the 19-minute target over the past two months shows a step improvement and all of this follows the change programme we have been implementing after a consultation with public and staff last year.”