58 serious incidents reported to East Midlands Ambulance Service in a year

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Almost 60 serious incidents were reported to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in a year, new figures have shown.

As reported by our sister title i, Freedom of Information requests to the ten ambulance trusts in England found that the number of serious incidents involving ambulance crews across the UK - including severe delays in responding to 999 calls and poor patient care - has risen by 20 per cent in just two years.

And EMAS had the third highest number of incidents between April 2015 and March 2016 at 58, just one behind the London Ambulance Service in second. The East of England Ambulance Trust had the most incidents with 84.

The national figures, more than half of which relate to complaints about delays answering emergency calls and getting patients to hospital, have now prompted warnings that the service is at “breaking-point”.

Norman Lamb, the former Liberal Democrat health minister, who obtained the figures, said: “The alarming rise in serious incidents adds to the growing evidence that ambulance services are at breaking-point due to chronic underfunding.”

He added: “This is a staggering record for a government which bangs on about patient safety, but still they do nothing to address the situation. “Behind each of these figures is a person in need of emergency medical assistance. But they are being failed because of the government’s reckless refusal to give the NHS the funding it needs to cope with rising demand.”

Mr Lamb said: “Patients are becoming less safe. I talked to a senior ambulance leader recently who said people are dying through delays.”

Dave Whiting, Chief Operating Officer at East Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We encourage staff to report serious incidents and near misses so that we can look into what happened, learn from the incident, and try to prevent it happening again.”