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Ambulance meeting with NWAS chief executive

30th November 2009 @ 3:03pm – by Audlem Webteam
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On Friday 27th November, a meeting was held in Nantwich to discuss the continuing problems locally with ambulance response times and the training for volunteer First Responders.

Local MPs Stephen O'Brien and Edward Timpson, with representatives from Audlem and Nantwich, met the new chief executive of the North West Ambulance Service, Darren Hurrell and other senior NWAS managers and directors. The meeting was also attended by a director of the local Primary Care Trust and senior Cheshire Fire Service staff.

Ambulance Response Times.The meeting was chaired by Stephen O'Brien and started with a description of Audlem's ambulance problems where just 38% of emergency calls (Red and Amber) have been met in recent months within 19 minutes – the target is 95%.

The issue was illustrated by the recent case (reported on Audlem Online 21st October) of a patient with a serious internal bleed having to wait 86 minutes for the ambulance and 150 minutes to arrive at hospital. This was despite a local GP calling the ambulance and requesting hospital admission within 1 hour. The patient almost died that night at Leighton Hospital.

Audlem asked if Darren Hurrell could repeat the promise made by his predecessor in September 2008 to Audlem councillor Mike Hill that 999 ambulances would arrive in Audlem within 19 minutes in virtually all cases – but this time deliver on the promise.

Nantwich's problems with ambulances were described movingly by local First Responder Gavin Palin who described how recently his own father had had to wait three and a half hours for an ambulance. He later died.

First RespondersThere was a detailed discussion about Audlem's request for First Responder training to be provided to the same level as that now being given to retained fire fighters in Nantwich in a pilot Co-Responder Service. This involves fire fighters responding to a wide range of calls, indeed, the type of calls that Audlem's volunteers would like to be able to attend.

The Audlem and District responses to the recent Ambulance & First Responder Survey were described by Mike Hill. The survey showed overwhelming support in four south Cheshire parishes for the efforts to get improvements in ambulance response times and First Responder training.

There was clear frustration from both Nantwich and Audlem that NWAS had been attending similar meetings for a year and no improvement in response times was yet evident. Representatives were clearly looking for action.

At the end of the meeting, Audlem suggested that the issue was largely a result of the few ambulances, often two at most, covering the whole of south Cheshire – that's Crewe, Nantwich and the whole of the local rural area. As a result, ambulances to Audlem were having to travel from the likes of Congleton and even as far away as Widnes (45 miles).

The NWAS said they understood how seriously these issues were and that the issues would be tackled. Stephen O'Brien asked Darren Hurrell and his NWAS team to return by the end of February with a clear and targeted plan to tackle ambulance response times and First Responder training so that these problems could be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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