THE retiring medical director of the region's ambulance service has hit out some aspects of the targets which increasingly dominate its work.John Scott is leaving at the end of April after 12 years with the East of England Ambulance Trust.
THE retiring medical director of the region's ambulance service has hit out some aspects of the targets which increasingly dominate its work.
John Scott is leaving at the end of April after 12 years with the East of England Ambulance Trust. Over his time with the trust ambulance targets have become increasingly challenging. The target of 75pc of life-threatening calls to be reached within eight minutes has been in place since 2001, but became more challenging last year when the clock started ticking as soon as the call was connected. They have attracted criticism from some, including unions, for encouraging ambulance trusts to send a response vehicle to emergencies with a single paramedic, as it can get there quicker than an ambulance.
Dr Scott said the targets were "a sledgehammer to crack a nut" but that they had served a purpose. He said: "It was when it first came in a relatively blunt tool. You have got to focus on public health, on epidemiology, and not just have a response system.
"They need refining, but the refinements are being addressed. Already the category A calls are being modified.
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"It is a bit like the phoenix, you can regard the target as the fire which a better service comes out of."
Dr Scott's is the latest of several departures from the trust, which was rated as weak for both finance and performance by the Healthcare Commission last autumn. Oskan Edwardson, the trust's director of operations, is already on secondment to the Department of Health. In December Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer for Suffolk, left to join an ambulance service in the United States. A year ago chief executive Chris Carney left for medical reasons, and was replaced by Hayden Newton.
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Dr Scott, 62, has been with the East Anglian Ambulance Trust since 1997, when he became clinical director, and became medical director when the trusts merged in 2006. Previously he was a GP in Cambridge from 1976 to 1997. His replacement has not yet been chosen.
Chief executive Hayden Newton said: "Dr Scott has been the driving force behind the improvements in the treatment we give to patients. He has been instrumental in developing leading edge clinical practice for ambulance services. On behalf of the trust board I would like to thank Dr Scott for the hard work, dedication and commitment to patient care that he has shown over the last 11 years."