Ambulance delays in Sheffield result in £200,000 fine

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been fined more than £200,000 for delays in reaching seriously-ill patients in Sheffield.

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group has levied a £206,000 penalty on the ambulance trust for missed targets since April.

The figure has been revealed shortly after the service said it was facing potential fines of £3.8m from Clinical Commissioning Groups across Yorkshire in the current financial year.

The trust is being penalised for failing to hit tough Government targets to get to 75 per cent of patients thought to be in a life-threatening condition within eight minutes.

Julia Newton, finance director at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The CCG sees the responsibility of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service achieving service standards as critical and is working with them to deliver their plans for improving performance.

“The CCG is ensuring that patient experience and clinical safety are paramount for the ambulance service.”

A spokesman for Sheffield CCG said Yorkshire and Humber CCGs are in discussion with the trust about its action plan to improve the situation and whether ‘some or all of the penalty’ can be reinvested back into ambulance services.

If the funding is withheld, it can be spent on other clinical services at the discretion of CCGs.

Rod Barnes, interim chief executive of the ambulance trust, said ‘disappointing’ response times in the first six months of the year meant an action plan to tackle issues has been introduced, with overtime incentives introduced for staff.

His recent report said faults with the despatch system in October had contributed to recent poor performance, along with a four-hour walkout by staff as part of a national pay dispute on October 13 that was followed by a four-day overtime ban.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “Overall demand for emergency ambulances is increasing year-on-year and this is reflected across the whole country. In Yorkshire and the Humber demand for the most seriously ill and injured patients in the first six months of the year was up by 11.5 per cent which equates to nearly 15,000 more incidents. Our focus remains on providing safe and high-quality services.”