A review that will steer how much money needs to be awarded to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will not be complete until 2019.
The ‘demand, capacity and price’ review was announced by acting chief executive Richard Henderson in the wake of last month’s damning inspection report that pointed the finger at low medic and ambulance numbers for its inability to hit response targets.
The independent review was supposed to provide EMAS bosses with the evidence with which to argue for the required NHS funds to meet emergency demand, an equation that many see as unbalanced currently.
But the EMAS annual report has now revealed that the first conclusions will not be drawn for three years.
A medic, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s almost comical that we are in desperate need of both vehicles and colleagues right now and they ask for three years to think about it.
“What more evidence do they need than the number of call-outs and the number of medics?”
They added: “You have to wonder how patients who we’ll leave waiting between now and 2019 will feel about this.”
Will Legge, director of strategy, said: “We want to make sure our service is sustainable and safe for the future but this cannot be done in isolation.
“The review needs to be undertaken in the context of the local plans, ensuring alignment with local county objectives and requirements.”
“Our 5 year vision describes a future clinical delivery model with a focus on providing care in the community. The review needs to tie in with this, and the plans across the East Midlands, many of which are still in their infancy.
“As the review progresses key findings will be shared with us and our commissioners and it is anticipated that the review will provide evidence to inform the settlement of the 2017/18 contract and planning for implementation of any changes over the following years.”
Mr Henderson said: “I am confident that the outcomes of negotiations will allow EMAS to achieve steady improvement in its emergency performance standards and operate on a much sounder financial footing in the years ahead.”
The chief executive said he was encouraged by the scrapping of the ‘payment by results’ contract, which “failed to provide EMAS with the financial security we needed.”
Instead, negotiation with commissioners, will this year see a block contract worth £152.5 million.
The contract terms allow for EMAS to be financially reimbursed for any A&E handover delays greater than one hour, with the money used to obtain support from private or voluntary ambulance services at peak times.
Hitting targets may also see EMAS receive £3.5m in bonuses.