What is achieved by the ambulance service fine?

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I bet I’m not the only reader who found himself or herself pondering on your story about the huge fine imposed on the East Midlands Ambulance Service (Breaking Point, Matlock Mercury, May 30).

The facts are all correct, no doubt. But intriguing questions are raised.

My first impression, when I saw reference to ‘missing key targets’, was that we had a sloppy ambulance service that was badly letting us down.

But the reported facts suggest otherwise - it seems that ambulances reach more than three-quarters of ‘immediately life-threatening calls’ within eight minutes (sounds pretty good to me, given some of the terrain involved).

So far so good then. How about ordinary calls?

Ambulances are required to reach 95-per-cent of patients within 19 minutes, we are told.

But this past year they managed only 91.85-per-cent in that time. (In other words, they still reached more than nine out of ten patients in less than 20 minutes.)

And now what’s happened? We are told that they have been fined THREE-AND-A-HALF MILLION POUNDS (by the NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group) for narrowly missing that second target.

Hey, that’ll show ‘em! But how will it help?

Will taking three-and-half-million pounds away from them somehow speed them up?

And where, exactly, does all that money go? Seriously - who gets it? And what part of the East Midlands service suffers because that amount is no longer available? Was the decision to impose a fat fine unanimous, I wonder. And where does this strange figure of £3.5M come from?

I am no expert in such matters (I’m only a long-retired journalist!) and these may sound like the over-simple questions that a child might ask. But I’d be interested to hear the answers.

Gerry Kreibich,

Matlock Bath

What do you think?

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