Ambulance service could face financial difficulties

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The ambulance service for Daventry may be put in “financial difficulty” by fines for poor performance – levied by the NHS.

NHS chiefs intend to fine the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) £500,000 because it missed the annual target for reaching enough non-life threatening calls within 19 minutes.

And ambulance services will now be fined every time crews take longer than 30 minutes to become available after arriving with a patient at A&E.

Papers published by NHS Northamptonshire warned that if the total fines reach 
£1 million “it will put EMAS in financial difficulty”.

Moya McVicar, former chairman of the health group watchdog, LINk, said: “I find the situation crazy that an NHS body can take money from another, just because it is struggling.”

An EMAS spokesman said it had been underfunded in the past and ambulance chiefs were lobbying for more funding. She added EMAS had avoided a £500,000 fine after hitting its annual response target for life-threatening calls, the potential effects of which had been of concern to NHS bosses.