‘Get your act together’ Meale tells EMAS

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Furious Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale has told bosses at East Midlands Ambulance Service they need to “get their act together” following a series of life-threatening blunders.

Sir Alan made his remarks after new figures showed that EMAS was the worst-performing ambulance trust in the country in responding to the most serious cases.

According to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, EMAS is taking 489 seconds (eight minutes and nine seconds) to respond to category A call outs - which include strokes and cardiac arrests.

In May 2011, the trust was responding to life-threatening calls in 348 seconds - a whole two minutes and 21 seconds quicker.

According to Government targets, 75 per cent of ambulances should arrive at the scene of category A incidents within eight minutes.

Nationally ambulances are taking over a minute longer to reach patients in a life-threatening condition, compared to three years ago.

Sir Alan said: “It’s about time they got their act together. They’re not running a bus service and if they are it’s a very poor one.

“In ill health when people need an ambulance it’s important that they get it right. With situations like this we don’t get any action replays whatsoever - you can’t rewind and do it again.

“I know of people who have died because of the wait for an ambulance, or at the very least it’s been very detrimental to them - you have to be able to get people there very quickly. A lot of it is down to the fact that the staff are over-burdened.”

Sir Alan also told Chad that he did not accept that poor road signs were to blame for paramedics taking 40 minutes to arrive at the home of Mansfield couple Linda and Keith Henson, in Heanor Walk, after Mrs Henson suffered a major heart attack.

Trained first-aider Keith spent 40 minutes giving his wife emergency CPR in their upstairs bedroom waiting for EMAS staff to arrive.

Sir Alan added: “I don’t accept that argument - the way things have advanced with modern technology, addresses can be easily identified using the numbers they are called on.”

In December, Chad reported how frantic relatives were forced to watch as paramedics struggled to get a desperately ill pensioner to hospital following multiple failings with an ambulance which responded to an emergency call.

Kathleen Harpham was found unconscious on the floor of her Selston home after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

The ambulance took almost 20 minutes to arrive at the scene and was then delayed at Mrs Harpham’s Bridge End Avenue home for a further ten minutes as crews struggled to get the vehicle’s hydraulic footplate back into place before setting off to hospital. In the past week there have been other examples of EMAS blunders around the Chad circulation area, including a woman who collapsed with severe chest pains being told paramedics would not attend due to a shortage of ambulances.

Crews also took 25 minutes to respond to another emergency call after it was claimed their SatNav took them up the wrong street.

A spokesman for EMAS said they had now implemented a system of placing warning notes on their system against hard-to-find addresses.

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.

PICTURED: An ambulance heading to an emergency, Sir Alan Meale and Keith and Linda Henson.