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April 2019
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Ambulance service response time criticised

An ambulance service has been criticised for it response time in getting to the scene of a road accident.

The North West Ambulance Service has been criticised over its response time in getting an ambulance to a young woman who had been hit by a car in Oldham, Greater Manchester last week.

The 18 year old girl was hit by a car whilst crossing Egerton Street, near her school, in the town centre at around 2.00pm last Thursday.

The girl suffered an injury to her head after colliding with the windscreen of the vehicle that was shattered, she lay on the roadside attended to by the public until the emergency services arrived.

Editor of GPSJ, Stuart Littleford, was one of the first at the scene along with the girls classmates from a nearby school and members of the public. They placed coats over her and tried to comfort her at the scene.

Stuart said, “Whilst helping out it was apparent that people had become concerned that after 25 minutes no emergency services had arrived, they could not understand why a girl with a potentially serious injury was lying in the road for so long, especially in a town centre with no help.

“I asked who had called the ambulance and a woman said she had around twenty minutes earlier, I rang again twice and asked for the police to attend due to the traffic situation. After around 25 minutes the first paramedic unit arrived and after around 45 minutes the larger ambulance turned up.”

“A number of people at the scene were really concerned as to what the delay was getting the emergency services to the scene, especially in a town centre.” he added.

One witness told GPSJ, “I know when the ambulance service were contacted they got told the girl had been hit by the car and had a bad head injury and that she was conscious and breathing, but I still think 25 minutes was far longer than expected in light of her injuries.”

Under the current target system, ambulance trusts should respond to 95 per cent of Category B 999 calls within 19 minutes.

Category B are where injuries are serious but not life threatening.

Across England last year (2009-10) the figure was 91.0 per cent. Only two of England’s 12 trusts met the target: South Western (95.8 per cent) and Isle of Wight (96.7 per cent).

The worst performing was North West Ambulance Trust, at 85.9 per cent.

North West Ambulance Service sent this response to GPSJ:

Director of Contact Centres at North West Ambulance Service, Paul Ferguson said: All 999 calls received by our control centres are categorised and given a priority by a medical priority dispatch system, based on the information provided by the caller. The speed and type of response is determined by the category of the call.

Our aim is to get to all patients as quickly as possible, prioritising those with life threatening conditions.

If the patient’s family would like to contact us about any concerns they may have, we are happy to discuss.

GPSJ understands the young woman has now made a good recovery and returned to school.

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