Health bosses have promised to work with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust to ensure Government ‘fines’ do not hit its investing in improvements.
Under NHS contracts the ambulance service, like any other supplier to care commissioning groups (CCGs), has to pay mandatory fines for failing to meet performance standards.
But the CCGs are concerned that the £1.5 million in fines the service has run up could impact on improvement programme.
Wendy Tankard, chief contracts officer at Ipswich and East CCG and West Suffolk CCG and lead for the East of England Ambulance Consortium said: “We will be working with the ambulance service over what proportion of this will be applied at the end of the year so that the Trust can continue its turnaround. We continue to work with the East of England Ambulance Service in transforming the service.”
She said the CCGs had invested in EEAST to support its £9 million transformation programme.
An EEAST spokesman said: “As we get closer to the end of the year we will be working closely with [the CCGs] to discuss the impact of any fines and how these might be managed.”
New data has revealed that complaints to EEAST are down almost a third while compliments are up.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal the EEAST received 798 complaints in 2013/14 which was down 32 per cent from 1,177 in 2012/13, while complaints increased across ambulance services generally.
Compliments from patients and their families remain higher than the number of complaints. In 2013/14, the Trust received 1,389 compliments praising the work of staff and the service, 16 per cent up from 1,193 the previous year.
With the trust handling more than 912,000 emergency calls in 2013/14 and 774,000 non-emergency patient transport journeys, it works out that it receives a complaint in only 0.05 per cent of cases