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Rural areas neglected by ambulance service?

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

After a man recently collapsed and died while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, a minister has called for a reassessment of paramedic response time targets in England’s rural areas. 26-year-old Peter Nelson, from Blakeney in Norfolk, died in his home in November after having waited for nearly two hours for an ambulance to arrive. When he was finally taken to hospital, he died shortly after from a haemorrhage. Norman Lamb, an MP for North Norfolk, highlighted that response time targets require serious reconsideration to prevent fatalities like this from occurring.

Mr Lamb argued that many trusts focus their response time targets on urban areas, meaning that those in rural areas are waiting far longer than they should to receive emergency medical attention. The health minister said that the issue would be raised with NHS England, with Mr Lamb saying that cases like that of Mr Nelson are “all too familiar”.

‘Rural areas lose out’

Mr Lamb said that he is due to meet Sir Bruce Keogh, who recently carried out a major review of emergency care within the NHS, in the upcoming weeks. He aims to address the issue by highlighting methods used by trusts to meet government targets: focusing on urban areas, where meeting target response times are much easier. Mr Lamb said: “you can’t have a system that allows rural areas to lose out while trusts apparently meet Whitehall targets.

The East of England Ambulance Trust has recently employed a new chief executive following criticism that their response times were among the worst in the country.

The targets have been altered, whereby paramedics now need to reach most 999 calls within eight minutes, and have a vehicle with the patient in nineteen minutes.

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