Paramedics in Portsmouth area celebrate after hitting all response time targets over Christmas

PARAMEDICS in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas are celebrating after they hit all response time targets for incidents reported via 999 over Christmas and the new year.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 6:46 pm

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said it hit the national goals between December 20, 2019 and January 2, 2020, despite an increase in demand for the same period a year ago.

The system, set up by NHS England in 2017, sees ambulance calls split into four categories depending on the condition of the patient the 999 call is about.

Patients in a life-threatening condition must get an ambulance in an average of seven minutes, while emergency patients in category two should have an ambulance on-scene in an average of 18 minutes.

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South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust hit all NHS England response time targets over Christmas and the new year. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The standards say patients who need an urgent response should get one within two hours, while those in a less urgent position should get one inside three hours.

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Mark Ainsworth, director of operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The Christmas and New Year fortnight is an exceptionally busy time for all emergency services and I’m delighted that we were able to continue to deliver excellent clinical care both in person and over the phone, and a responsive and appropriate service to all those patients who called 999 during these two weeks.

‘As well as passing on my gratitude to our staff working in our clinical co-ordination centres and on the road, we also received fantastic support right across the south central area from our volunteer community first responders and co-responders from local fire and rescue services, police services and military personnel.’

Calls in the two-week period were received by the trust’s clinical co-ordination centres in Bicester, in Oxfordshire, and Otterbourne in Hampshire.

The organisation provides emergency care to more than 4m people.

Will Hancock, chief executive at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘I’d like to thank all our staff and volunteers for working so hard all year round, and particularly over the Christmas and New Year season when they are away from their families.

‘Despite an increase in demand for our 999 service compared to 12 months ago, the dedication, professionalism and commitment over the last two weeks has delivered these fantastic results at the busiest time of the year.

‘I would also like to thank members of the public across our region for continuing to use NHS 111, urgent treatment centres, their local GP surgery and pharmacies for minor injuries and illnesses.

‘This really helps ensure that we can respond quickly to the most serious and life- threatening emergencies via our 999 service whenever and wherever they happen in our region.’

The success for the trust comes after figures revealed Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department, in Portsmouth, saw saw an ambulance arrive once every eight minutes on one of its busiest days in December.