Terminally-ill patients face over 90-minute waits for ambulances in West Herts

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According to NHS targets ALL ‘end of life’ patients requiring non-emergency transport should be collected within an hour and a half.

But data shows that in the first eight months of 2018, just 64 per cent of patients in the area were collected within the target time.

And that means one in three are having to wait more than 90 minutes to be collected.

The data – presented last week to a meeting of the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group board which oversees local healthcare – also shows that just 58 per cent of those ‘end of life’ patients were collected within the hour. The NHS target is 95 per cent.

The time taken to collect these patients does not include a 60-minute notice period.

According to the report the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) has not met its non-emergency transport targets, since it took over the service in January – with the exception of call answering targets.

So far this year just 76 per cent of  other ‘patients’ have been collected within an hour of their planned pick-up time – compared to a national target of 95 per cent.

And that means one in four of those patients – including day cases, transfers, preplanned discharges and renal dialysis patients – have had to wait more than an hour.

An EEAST spokesman said: “The East of England Ambulance Service have stepped in to run this contract following the liquidation of the private provider Private Ambulance Service Ltd.

“We continue to actively recruit staff  to this contract and work closely with all partners to build and provide excellence for patients.

“We are currently working closely with the clinical commissioning group to continue to improve this situation. We welcome applications for staff who want to provide care to patients in this area.”

According to the report, CCG staff are in daily contact with ambulance bosses, and there have been meetings between the trust and CCG chief executive Kathryn Magson about the financial pressures, quality, recruitment and retention.