Following Audlem Online's updated story over the past two days, and the original report on Thursday last week, the North West Ambulance Service has sent the following statement:
"North West Ambulance Service received a call to attend to a patient involved in a Road Traffic Collision in Audlem on Tuesday 4 December. Based on the information provided to us by the caller, this call was classified as an amber call, serious but not life threatening. An ambulance and a Community First Responder were dispatched immediately but the ambulance had to divert to another call that had come in, classified as a red call (serious and life threatening). "The first responder reached scene in 14 minutes and provided support to the patient until the first available ambulance arrived. Unfortunately this took 41 minutes. NWAS apologises for the distress caused by this delay but reassures its patients that responding to incidents promptly is a priority for the Trust and it has implemented changes to ensure this happens.
"The Trust has previously acknowledged that rural parts of the North West including Cheshire, can present specific challenges for the service in terms of meeting the nationally recognised targets in those areas. NWAS has been working in partnership with commissioners to ensure the profile of resources is correct. "As was outlined at the Audlem public meeting a few months ago, there are improvements to be made and additional vehicles have been ordered and additional staff recruited this year. However, there are time lag issues around physically building and receiving new ambulances along with the recruiting and training of new staff. This is not something that can be achieved overnight, and the benefits of this additional resource will be seen over time.
"In addition, at the meeting earlier in the year, NWAS acknowledged the challenges faced particularly in Audlem and other isolated communities and outlined the future vision. The Trust recognises the problems and challenges that it faces and is working to see improvements in this over the medium to long term. As the Trust modernises it will look at alternative ways and will devise new response models based on urban, rural and remote rural need. "One element of this, as discussed in the previous meeting, are Community First Responder schemes that can work to address some of these challenges and have worked well in many areas across Cheshire and Merseyside, and throughout the country. The Trust is currently in the process of introducing a further seven groups in Cheshire to bolster the 11 groups already in operation. First Responders respond to emergency calls in addition to ambulances and administer life support to patients while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.
"NWAS would like to reassure the public that patient care is a priority for the ambulance service and it is continually looking at ways in which it can improve its service to its patients."
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