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Medics' concern over East of England Ambulance Trust's use of ambulance cars 'ignored' by CEO Andrew Morgan
Ambulance trust CEO Andrew Morgan has been accused of ignoring concerns from hundreds of paramedics about the use of ambulance cars to meet response-time targets.
Almost 400 members of staff from the East of England Ambulance Trust signed a statement condemning the use of cars driven by solo medics to fulfil the A19 target.
Under the A19 policy, the ambulance service is supposed to send an ambulance to 95 per cent of emergencies within 19 minutes.
However, UNISON members say the use of fast response cars, staffed by solo medics rather than a traditional ambulance, was putting patients at risk.
Andrew Morgan, interim CEO of East of England Ambulance Trust, met with staff last week to discuss the grievance.
However, UNISON officers who attended the meeting claimed Mr Morgan would not accept, or give it fair process.
Tim Roberts, regional UNISON organiser, said: "The trust claim they meet government targets by despatching solo paramedics in cars to critically sick people, including those who have experienced strokes and heart attacks, even though the car cannot be used to transport patients to hospital.
"Our members believe decisions were made by the previous management team, based on hitting this target with cars at the expense of patients, to make the trust look better on paper.
"Our members are clear that the trust should deploy the right resources to the right patients and not chase a flawed target."
Mr Roberts said the trust was operating with too many cars and too few ambulances.
He added: "Managers are choosing to interpret this target in a way that is clearly not in patients interests - something is very wrong in the ambulance service.
"What are the senior managers thinking? How many patients have died or been left with permanent disabilities because they have waited too long for an ambulance over the past few years?"
Gary Sanderson, from the East of England Ambulance Trust, said the grievance had been through due process and "was not deemed appropriate to be progressed".
Andrew Morgan, interim chief executive, added: "The trust strongly refutes any suggestion that we are not interested in patient safety.
"We are putting in place, and will report publicly on, a new target called R19T which will record the time waited by people we actually convey, rather than the current A19 which counts those we do not actually end up conveying.
"We will, however, continue to report the national A19 standard in order to allow comparative data to be collected across all ambulance trusts."
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