Statistics show ambulance response times in Leighton Buzzard have improved since removal of rapid response car

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Ambulance respond times for Leighton Buzzard have improved since criticised changes to the service were introduced in December.

The LBO reported in November how the East of England Ambulance Service was planning to scrap the town’s emergency response car which was based at its Bassett Road site alongside an ambulance.

The change meant two ambulances were based in the town instead, but the LBO was contacted by an ambulance service insider who claimed the move would “cost countless lives”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fears were centred around the fact the response car was tied to Leighton Buzzard, whereas ambulances could be called out to other towns and villages meaning cover would be slower to attend some emergencies.

Ambulance station in Bassett RoadAmbulance station in Bassett Road
Ambulance station in Bassett Road

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous also described the reorganisation as “concerning” after being contacted by a whistleblower.

He wrote to the Secretary of State for Health to describe what he called a “retrograde step” and said to the LBO: “From what I have been told, I am strongly opposed to this change.”

However, the MP met East of England Ambulance Trust chief operating officer Marcus Bailey last week who demonstrated that figures since December 2019 showed improved response times for category 1, 2 and 3 calls:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Category 1 (example: cardiac), 8 mins 53 secs (October 2019 with one car, one ambulance cover), 7 mins 27 secs (January 2020 with two ambulances).

Andrew Selous MP with East of England Ambulance Trust chief operating officer Marcus BaileyAndrew Selous MP with East of England Ambulance Trust chief operating officer Marcus Bailey
Andrew Selous MP with East of England Ambulance Trust chief operating officer Marcus Bailey

Category 2 (example: chest pain) 30 mins 22 secs (October 2019), 23 mins 2 secs (January 2020).

Category 3 (example: falls) 1 hour 5 mins 55 secs (October 2019), 55 mins 16 secs (January 2020).

Mr Selous has revealed that as part of the changes, Leighton Buzzard had been given a higher priority as an area to which ambulances should return to be based when they are not engaged on a call out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Following the meeting, Mr Selous said. “I am very pleased to see that response times have improved for the LU7 area.

“I want to make sure that the needs of the ambulance service are properly taken into account in the planning process with more homes coming to our area.

“I also want to make sure that all new housing developments allow plenty of access for both fire engines and ambulances to get to where they need to without delay.”

Ahead of the changes an East of England Ambulance spokesman told the LBO: “At least one ambulance will be stationed there 24 hours a day, and for the majority of the time, both will be in service.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The benefit to Leighton Buzzard residents is that more patients will be assessed by clinicians working from a vehicle that can transport them to hospital immediately if necessary.

“This change is in line with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s programme of continuous improvement to our response to patient needs, and reflects national Ambulance Response Programme guidelines.

“These guidelines have shifted the emphasis in pre-hospital care towards vehicles capable of transporting patients being first on the scene at most incidents.”

This week, the ambulance service was approached for further comment, but has not responded yet.