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Ambulance service fined £2.6m for missing targets

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

West Midlands Ambulance Service has been fined £2.6million after failing to reach one of its primary targets for responding to life-threatening calls. The target requires the ambulance service to attend 75% of emergencies within eight minutes, which West Midlands Ambulance Service failed to meet in 2013/14. As a result, a fine was imposed by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which controls NHS budgets.

A spokesperson from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said that this was the first time they had failed to meet standards, and that the failing in 2013/14 was due to an unprecedented, and unpredictable, demand for the service.

Fining a struggling service is a “farce”

The service is to lose £800,000 of the total fine, with the remaining £1.8 being reinvested to improve ambulance response times. WMAS said that negotiations on the reinvestment were well underway, and that the fine would in no way affect front-line staff.

Ray Salmon from UNISON described fining a struggling service as a “farce”. He argued that it was ridiculous to take money away from an ambulance service that was already struggling to meet demands.

The specific details of the fine were only brought to light as a result of board papers for the North Staffordshire CCG, which showed that the contract was subject to a fine of £94,000 – North Staffordshire’s share of the total amount deducted.

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