Non-emergency ambulance response time target scrapped17th December 2010
The government looks set to scrap targets requiring ambulances in England to attend less urgent 999 calls within 19 minutes.
The move will see a “time to treatment” measure introduced instead, though the eight-minute response target for life-threatening emergencies is expected to remain.
The change is part of a review of assessment of emergency health services in England, which will include varied targets for A&E which focus more on quality of care rather than the emphasis on meeting the current four-hour waiting limit.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The new measures will focus on quality of care and what matters most to patients - giving a better indication of patient care than the previous process-led targets ever could.”
However, the GMB union criticised the ambulance target changes.
National officer Justin Bowden said scrapping the 19-minute response time was a “shocking scaling back of the service currently provided to the public.”
However, the target changes were welcomed elsewhere, particularly in A&E departments, where the coalition government has already reduced the threshold for meeting the four-hour wait time target from 98% to 95%.
John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said: "This is an opportunity to transform emergency care to ensure it becomes the jewel in the crown of the NHS."
The Patients Association said it was important to look at other measures and that care should be taken to ensure the four-hour limit did not slip too often.
An NHS spokeswoman said what was important in non-emergency cases, was how long it took for people to get treated.
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Title: Non-emergency ambulance response time target scrapped
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 17074
Date Added: 17th Dec 2010