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NAO to conduct value for money inquiry of ambulance trusts

English ambulance services will face scrutiny from the National Audit Office (NAO) to determine whether they achieve value for money.

The NAO announced today that it is launching an inquiry into the country’s 10 ambulance trusts, who received a combined total of £2.1bn in 2014-15.

The NAO will examine areas including whether ambulance trusts are meeting performance targets and improving outcomes for patients, whether variations in the performance of ambulance trusts have reduced, and whether ambulance trusts are maximising the impact that they can have on the sustainability of the NHS.

In 2014-15, there were 9 million emergency calls to the ambulance service, compared to 8.5 million in 2013-14.

The latest NHS monthly performance figures show that, in April 2016, 71.3% of red 1 ambulance calls were responded to within eight minutes, the eleventh month in a row in which the 75% standard had not been met.

The standard for red 2 calls has not been met in 30 months and is currently at 65.2%, and 92.2% of category A calls were answered within 19 minutes, marking the eleventh month in which the 95% standard has been missed.

Unison is currently balloting East of England Ambulance Service staff about possible strike action over overrunning shifts.

The NAO said those who wanted to provide evidence for the study should e-mail, putting ‘Ambulance Services’ in the subject line.

The results of the inquiry will be published early next year.

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