Health minister Jeremy Hunt refers Lincolnshire ambulance fears to watchdog

Jeremy Hunt has referred concerns over EMAS to an independent panel
Jeremy Hunt has referred concerns over EMAS to an independent panel

Health minister Jeremy Hunt has referred fears over Lincolnshire’s ambulance service to an independent watchdog for assessment.

Members of Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee raised fears over the East Midlands Ambulance Service with the Government after ambulance bosses were fined for a third year running for failing to meet a response target.

Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt has passed the concerns to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) an independent national body of professionals and lay members, whose sole job is to provide advice/reports the Government on such matters.

Coun Christine Talbot, committee chairman, said: “The committee have had concerns over the performance of EMAS for a long time, and this referral was specifically made as we didn’t feel they had carried out adequate consultation on their ‘Being the Best’ proposals.

“EMAS have been fined for the third year running for failing to meet response times and we have no confidence that closing ambulance stations will improve this situation in Lincolnshire.

“Although it has taken the Secretary of State eight weeks to respond, I am pleased that the IRP will now be looking into our concerns and are carrying out an initial assessment.”

The IRP will submit its initial assessment by June 28 2013.

There are two possible outcomes from an IRP initial assessment - either a recommendation that a full review is undertaken, or a recommendation that a full review is not needed but should be resolved locally.