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Four of England’s ambulance services have begun the roll out of new response times announced in July this year.
The Ambulance Response Programme (ARP) trials, approved by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, show that the new system could bring faster treatment for those needing it and save 250 lives a year, provide an immediate response to 750,000 more calls a year, and drive improved care for stroke and heart attack patients.
Speaking at the Health and Care Innovation Expo, Jonathan Benger, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Urgent Care, said that a further four ambulance trusts would be switching to the new target times before the winter begins.
He said: “Giving call handlers more time for triage doesn’t impede the response to the sickest patients and the ambulance service becomes more efficient as a result. We already have the North West, Yorkshire, West Midlands and South West services working to the new response targets and more will be moving to the new standards in October.
“Rather than sending multiple vehicles to one call and having to stand crews down, we are now sending one vehicle and giving the patient the right response. This is freeing up paramedics and ambulances to attend other calls. There is now a response standard for every patient and this will focus services on the less urgent calls while not affecting responses to the most serious calls. From now on the bar will set at 90 per cent of calls to be reached in the target times rather than 75 per cent under the old system.”