Sat-nav error story challenged

Tuesday, 07 October, 2008

East Midlands Ambulance Service has responded to a local newspaper story
that claimed two ambulances on a 999 call to a car crash were sent eight miles
in the wrong direction because of a satnav error.

The Northampton Chronicle & Echo story said that the incident occurred on the day when all calls to the service began to be routed through a new EMAS control centre in Nottingham and claimed that staff were unfamiliar with the Northamptonshire area where the vehicles were sent.

But a spokesperson for East Midlands Ambulance service said, "In fact, the call was incorrectly 'zoned' in the Northamptonshire control room. A second responding crew spotted the error and immediately took corrective action. We regret this human error occurred. EMAS responds to over 500,000 emergency calls each year and always strives to achieve the highest possible standards in Northamptonshire - we are now getting to more patients faster than ever before."

The spokesperson said that the article was wrong to state that staff were unfamiliar with their territory. "The new facility features the latest technology and we have more staff handling calls for Northamptonshire. The new team has a total of 14 members each with specialised training and familiarization within Northamptonshire with 'handover periods' of up to 10 months."

Added the spokeperson, "We are confident these new developments will result in further improvements in patient care and we are challenging the Northampton Chronicle and Echo's version of events."

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