HC Deb 28 July 1998 vol 317 c163
9. Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire, Moorlands)

What factors underlay the response rate times achieved by Staffordshire ambulance service in the last three years. [50984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Paul Boateng)

My hon. Friend will be aware that Staffordshire ambulance service has achieved the best response times in England for the third year running. I commend this achievement, which is attributable in part to an innovative system of positioning ambulances on standby close to areas where emergencies are most likely to occur. We need to spread that good practice, which I know other ambulance services are looking at. I congratulate both staff and management of Staffordshire ambulance service on their enterprise.

Charlotte Atkins

What plans does my hon. Friend have to ensure that all ambulance services take advantage of Staffordshire's valuable experience? It appears that nothing has been done in the past three years to ensure that other ambulance services—such as Cornwall, which is at the bottom of the league table—benefit from the Staffordshire experience. The results have been startling and have produced huge dividends for patients, particularly those suffering cardiac arrest.

Mr. Boateng

The Staffordshire ambulance service has already led several seminars that we have organised in order to encourage the spread of good practice. We must make it absolutely clear that we expect all ambulance services to respond to 75 per cent. of life-threatening calls within eight minutes by 2000–01. Staffordshire is so far the only ambulance service to have met that target already, and it is showing the way for others. Clear, strategic business planning has managed to achieve improvements without additional costs. Ambulance services nationwide must learn that lesson, and we intend to ensure that they do.

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