WIGAN’S ambulances trust has hit back at claims they should save more lives after a former ambulance trust chief executive said patients are in a postcode lottery as to whether they live or die in an emergency.
Figures revealed that paramedics at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) carried out 484 resuscitation attempts last year of which only 36 people survived.
Roger Thayne believes ambulance crew delays could be a major factor.
Mr Thayne, a former chief executive of the Staffordshire ambulance service, says the figures expose a health scandal and claims ambulance crews should be saving around 2,500 more lives a year.
He has called for an inquiry into why some ambulance services appear to be performing better than others.
He said: “It’s absolutely frightening and totally unnecessary. We have an NHS which should be as good in any part of the country and we should not have a postcode lottery in terms of this very acute condition, the cardiac arrest.
“I estimate that we should be saving twice as many lives a year, or around 2,500 people.”
However, trust chiefs say the service is coping admirably and that Mr Thayne cannot qualify his claims.
Kevin Mackway-Jones, medical director at NWAS, said: “We cannot comment on Mr Thayne’s claims without a better understanding as to how he has analysed the data provided.
“As a Trust we follow internationally recognised resuscitation guidelines. All our paramedic staff are trained and equipped to deliver these to patients in cardiac arrest. The latest Ambulance Clinical Quality Indicators for Cardiac Arrest management ranked NWAS as the third highest performing ambulance service in the country.”
In a statement, Professor Jonathan Benger, national clinical director of NHS England, said: “There has been variation between ambulance trusts since collection of ambulance clinical quality indicators started in April 2011.
“The reasons for variation are multifactorial and carefully analysed by ambulance trusts, as well as in published research. verification and returns.”
Demographics and individual factors will lead to variation in outcomes, as will the treatments provided in hospital. It would be entirely wrong to suggest all variation can be attributed to a single factor.