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Focus on outcomes welcomed

17 December 2010

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) welcomes the move to make patient outcomes and experience the focus of measuring NHS performance.

The Department of Health has today announced the abolishment of the ‘category B’ target which currently means ambulance trusts should reach 95 per cent of certain non-life threatening emergencies within 19-minutes of a 999 call being made.

This follows the Government’s commitment to remove targets where there is no clinical justification to keep them. The aim is to ensure that patient safety, outcomes and experience are the focus for improvements.
SECAmb has already taken significant steps in recent years to drive up improvements in clinical care by introducing innovations such as a new resuscitation technique and clinical pathways for stroke victims.

The benefits of these innovations are already being felt by communities across the region.  In Brighton and Hove, where the new resuscitation procedure was first piloted, up to 50 per cent of patients who suffered a witnessed cardiac arrest in the community were successfully resuscitated by SECAmb clinicians and up to 25 per cent of those were discharged from hospital. These survival rates are in line with world class emergency care systems and are more than double the national average for England.

SECAmb’s Director of Operations, Sue Harris said: “We have been campaigning for a long time that outcomes should be the driving factor for measuring success and we therefore welcome this decision.

“However, we also recognise that it is still important to respond to patients in a timely manner – nobody calls 999 and tells us to take our time!  In a recent survey we undertook, patients and the public told us that speed of response was one of the key things they expected and wanted from their local ambulance service.

“Therefore, I’m confident that while the changes outlined by the Government are necessary and important, we will continue to ensure that we provide a responsive and high-quality ambulance service to our communities – it is what they want and deserve.”

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