Ambulance chiefs to be questioned by MPs over lengthy response times

East of England Ambulance Sevices Hospital Lane April 2020.

East of England Ambulance Service Trust chiefs will be questioned by East Anglian MPs today over lengthy response times - Credit: Brittany Woodman

East of England ambulance chiefs will travel to Parliament today to face questions from East Anglian MPs over lengthy response times.

Last month, it was revealed response times in the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) were more than double the national target.

Response time figures

The data was obtained from the NHS' Ambulance Quality Indicators - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Coastal MP and secretary of state for work and pensions, Thérèse Coffey, labelled the figures "shockingly bad" and said: "At my invitation, the chief executive and other senior members of the ambulance service are coming to Parliament early next month where East Anglian MPs will have an opportunity to interrogate them."

Dr Coffey added: "I'll be asking them to account for these numbers and will challenge them on the turnaround plan."

The data, which was obtained from the NHS' Ambulance Quality Indicators, revealed patients suffering from Category 2 emergencies - which include heart attacks, strokes and sepsis - faced an average wait of 49 minutes and 50 seconds for an EEAST ambulance.

The national target currently stands at 18 minutes.

With the average C2 response times across England standing at 39 minutes and 58 seconds, the data also revealed the East of England to be almost 10 minutes over the rest of the country.

Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey

Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey labelled the figures "shockingly bad" - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

EEAST response times for Category 1 emergencies, which are classed as life-threatening conditions, had an average of nine minutes and 55 seconds - almost three minutes over the national target.  

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This figure was also two minute's higher than the Trust's figure from the same time in 2021.

Following publication of these figures, a spokesperson for EEAST said: "The NHS has experienced sustained high demand and we have been working hard with partner organisations to reduce waiting times and hospital handover delays, as we know the impact they have on patients.

"The public can help us reach the patients who need us most urgently by using alternatives to 999 in non-urgent cases, such as NHS 111."