West Midlands Ambulance Service
An update which will include a focus on the
review of community ambulance stations. This item was raised at
Council on 28 September and all members of Council have been
invited to submit questions and lines of enquiry which have been
forwarded to the Ambulance Service.
The Chair welcomed Mark Docherty, Director of
Clinical Commissioning and Murray McGregor, Communications Director
from West Midlands Ambulance
WMAS had been asked to address members on its
review of community ambulance stations. This item had been raised
at Council on 28 September and all members of Council were invited
to submit questions and lines of enquiry. These were forwarded to
the Ambulance Service, with initial written responses provided and
circulated to members.
Murray Macgregor spoke initially on the
- An acknowledgement that WMAS
performance in Warwickshire was not good enough, evidenced by the
performance data provided to members in the circulated pack. This
was disappointing and reflected data from across the country.
- A recent report highlighted cases of
harm due to hospital handover delays. The hospitals serving the
Coventry and Warwickshire area were not the worst offenders, but
there was room for improvement.
- From data there were some 28,500
lost hours of service across the region due to hospital handover
delays, impacting severely on the ability to respond to further
patients. He spoke of the impact for patients, the risk of harm and
for staff, finishing late, affecting their welfare and when they
could commence their next shift.
- This was one of the reasons for the
decisions around closure of community ambulance stations.
- Previously, response targets were
based on the time taken to get to the patient. A detailed review
was undertaken in 2017-18 to look at improvements. Using the
example of a stroke case, it was not about when the paramedic
reached the patient, but when that patient received the specialist
treatment in hospital which determined their likelihood of survival
and a good outcome.
- Community ambulance stations
provided an inefficient system. An outline was provided of the way
the hub model operated and staff had an ambulance checked, equipped
and ready to use immediately for their full shift. Compared to
this, the community ambulance station model had a number of
inefficiencies which were explained and equated to 2½ to 3
hours per site per day. It was estimated that the increased
efficiency from this proposal would enable response to 5000-6000
extra calls per year.
- There was concern that this change
would remove the ambulance cover from Stratford and Rugby. This was
not the case and an outline was provided of the operating model. In
many cases, patients were treated at the scene and did not need
transport to hospital. This meant the ambulance was available in
that locality for the next patient. Data showed that ambulances
based at a community ambulance stations only attended 5% of cases
in their immediate area.
Mark Docherty outlined his background working
in the NHS and spoke on the following
- His involvement in a document
‘zero tolerance’ raising concerns some nine years ago
about the implications of delayed hospital handovers for ambulance
- Data was provided and nearly 30k
hours were lost due to hospital delays, the equivalent of taking 83
ambulances out of service.
- Across the region WMAS worked
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