EMAS concerns referred to government advisory board by health minister Jeremy Hunt

The performance of East Midlands Ambulance Service is to be scrutinised by a government advisory board after three successive fines for failing to meet response times.

Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee had referred their concerns over EMAS to the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt has now sent the case onto the the Independent Reconfiguration Panel for an initial assessment.

Last month it was revealed that EMAS missed the target of ambulances arriving at 95 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies within 19 minutes was missed this target by over three per cent, leading to a £3.5 million fine.

It met the second target set by the NHS – to respond to 75 per cent of callers reporting a life-threatening emergency within eight minutes

But, it is the third-year in a row the service has been fined.

Coun Christine Talbot, chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire, said: “The committee have had concerns over the performance of EMAS for a long time, and this referral was specifically made as we didn’t feel they had carried out adequate consultation on their ‘Being the Best’ proposals.”

“EMAS have been fined for the third year running for failing to meet response times and we have no confidence that closing ambulance stations will improve this situation in Lincolnshire.

“Although it has taken the Secretary of State eight weeks to respond, I am pleased that the IRP will now be looking into our concerns and are carrying out an initial assessment.”

The IRP will submit their initial assessment advice on this referral to the Secretary of State by June 28.

There are two possible outcomes from an IRP initial assessment - either a recommendation that a full review is undertaken, or a recommendation that a full review is not needed but should be resolved locally.