MORE than 7,000 extra calls were made to the ambulance service for Northamptonshire in one month compared with the same period a year ago.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) chiefs have blamed the extra calls for the failure of crews to hit their targets for getting to the most urgent 999 calls in February.
Patients were reached within eight minutes 72.6 per cent of the time after a ‘Category A’ emergency. However, the target is 75 per cent.
A spokeswoman for EMAS said: “During February, we received 63,000 calls, compared to 56,000 for the same period last year – an increase of 12.93 per cent.
“The increase in demand impacted on our performance for the month. Our aim is always to get to people as quickly as we can to provide the best possible care. We are on track to meet the standard overall for this year.”
February saw a 12 per cent increase in responses over the previous year across the area served by East Midlands Ambulance Service – Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire, which alone saw a more than 14 per cent increase in responses.
Ambulance managers believe the increase was partly down to wintery weather at the start of the month.
They also think school half-term holidays may have played a part.
A spokeswoman said: “The school half term holidays will mean more people out and about doing things they wouldn’t normally when at work and potentially children having play-related bumps and injuries.”
Paramedics missed the target in August, September, and October by less than one per cent.
It then hit the target in November, fell short in December, scoring 72.8 per cent, before hitting it successfully in January
However the service remained the worst of all 12 trusts in the country for reaching 95 per cent of emergency calls within 19 minutes – with its February figure at 90.3 per cent.
On average the ambulance service takes about 2,000 calls from members of the public calling 999 - the equivalent of one every 45 seconds.