Is one ambulance enough for town?

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A BRACKLEY man is asking tough questions of the ambulance service after it took more than 20 minutes to reach a middle aged man found unconscious in his car.

Neville Jones, of Saimon Close, contacted the Advertiser this week after reading the front page story of July 20 about proposals to close stations in Manor Road, Brackley, and Towcester Police Station.

Brackley Ambulance Station

Brackley Ambulance Station

The East Midlands Ambulance Trust announced recommendations to tackle missed response time targets and cut costs by moving ambulance crews away from stations to ‘tactical deployment points.’

The service believes the move will better serve the public while cutting costly maintenance bills for existing stations.

But Mr Jones said instead the service should be addressing the issue of the town having only one ambulance, which meant if it was deployed outside the town and there was an emergency in Brackley an ambulance would have to be sent from further afield.

He added there had been a couple of recent incidents where ambulances had taken a long time to arrive, including one where a 57-year-old gentleman in Pavillons Way was found unconscious in his car. As a crowd of helpers gathered and started CPR Mr Jones phoned 999 at 11.55am.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service refute the precise timings, but Mr Jones is adamant the first help arrived after 12.20pm.

The lone first responder was followed by a double manned land ambulance and the air 
ambulance. Despite their efforts, and those of bystanders, the gentleman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Due to patient confidentiality, EMAS are unable to say whether the delay contributed towards the death, but Mr Jones said the real issue is why it took so long for an ambulance to arrive.

In a letter of complaint to EMAS he asks: “If you were in urgent need of medical assistance for yourself or a family member, where the only outcome was life or death, would you accept that it takes 20 minutes for that assistance to arrive?”

Paramedics at the scene told Mr Neville the Brackley ambulance was on another job, and that they had come from Northampton.

In the response to his complaint Mr Jones was told the Brackley ambulance had been sent to Northampton.

He said: “We all accept that if an ambulance is taking someone to hospital there is no cover for a 
period.

“But when the Brackley ambulance is dealing with an emergency in Northampton and they have to send someone to Brackley from Northampton, there doesn’t seem to be any logic to that.”

He said a few months after that the emergency services were called to a house in his street where people had been reported trapped.

Again he said the ambulance took a long time to 
arrive and when questioned EMAS said the Brackley station had been closed due to staff sickness.

In response to his complaint, Phil Milligan, EMAS chief executive said the first responder arrived at Pavillons Way at 12.15pm, 23 minutes after the initial call and he apologised for not meeting the eight minute target time set by the Government which EMAS must reach 75 per cent of the time.

Mr Milligan said once an ambulance crew signs on they could be deployed to anywhere in Northamptonshire, or even the surrounding counties.

He added: “The resources of EMAS, along with other ambulance services throughout the UK, are commissioned by Primary Care Trusts throughout the NHS and the number of vehicles we are able to provide throughout the area covered by the service is entirely dependant on the amount of funding allocated to us by those PCTs.

“I can assure you that the resources available to us are used in the most efficient way at all times to provide emergency care and treatment to members of the public.”