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West Midlands Ambulance Service fined £2.6m


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BBC Birmingham Local Radio - 14 May 2014
By Michele Paduano - BBC Midlands health correspondent

 
An ambulance service has been fined £2.6m for failing to reach one of its key targets for life threatening calls, the BBC has learnt.
 
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) failed to reach the government's target of attending 75% of emergencies within eight minutes during 2013-14.
 
The fine has been imposed by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) which control NHS budgets.
 
WMAS said there had been unprecedented and unpredictable demand.
 
So far, in 2014-15, the service said it had met all its targets.
 
'A farce'
The service will lose £800,000 of the total fine. The remaining £1.8m will be "reinvested to improve ambulance response times", the CCGs said.
 
WMAS said negotiations on the reinvestment were at "a very advanced stage" and the fine would not impact on front-line staff.
 
But Ray Salmon from Unison said it was "a farce" to take money away from a service that was already struggling to meet demand.
 
"You cannot have 17 decisions made locally about an ambulance service which operates across the whole region," he said.
 
The details of the fine have only came to light because board papers for the North Staffordshire CCG showed the contract was subject to a penalty of £94,000 - North Staffordshire's share of the total amount deducted.
 
And who is going to be paying this fine - surley not the rate/taxpayer? Why not just sack the managers responsible for running this sort of target. I am sure the staff on the front line are doing the best they can with all the cuts.
 
I see they have set up such a body in Herefordshire. 
 
From their frequent questions:
CCGs have taken on many of the key functions of the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) - the commissioning or purchasing function. Locally it was known as the Herefordshire Primary Care Trust.
 
And what are they doing now? Shuffling the chairs around again or leaving for pastures new.

 

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Having had an in depth conversation with an advanced paramedic about this, the feeling on the front line seems to be that management did not/would not listen when many concerns were voiced about closing smaller stations, and creating one central "hub" in Hereford.

The increase in demand for emergency ambulances is well documented, it doesn't take a genius to work out that response times in a rural area are going to be affected.

Whilst WMAS have put in community paramedics, they can respond, but nine times out of ten still need to call for back up. You cannot transport someone with a broken pelvis in a car, you need an ambulance.

If someone who lives up three flights of stairs is having a cardiac arrest, you need two trained staff....to administer the medical help required, and physically get them out!

Therefore, the call for back up goes out, and you then have a community paramedic and a two crew ambulance attending. This ties up 2 resources.

How can this make sense?

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  • 2 months later...

I have just read that Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service, spends a whopping £400. per WEEK on taxi fares from his West Mids home to Cambridge.

 

This is good value apparently. It allows him to answer emails.

 

Reassuringly, his £232,000 salary is also good value, as he is busy "saving money."( Although he is paid significantly more than Simon Stevens, the man who has overall responsibility for the entire NHS, and earns £211,000.)

 

And the £9,400  car allowance he also claims, is very necessary indeed.

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