A government audit conducted by Department of Health to find the response time of ambulance services for emergency calls have found that six trusts had failed to record correct details for how they responded to the most serious life-threatening emergency calls.
The Government has set a target saying 75 per cent of such 'Category A' calls should be responded to within eight minutes. Data collected by the Information Center for Health and Social Care from 31 NHS ambulance trusts showed that the trusts narrowly missed this target set by the government by 1%, but this could actually increase due to the misreporting of data by six of these trusts.
Following this, government pledged to change ambulance control room systems. All trusts had now corrected their procedures but follow-up audits "will take place to check that they are now reporting correctly", the Department of Health said.
The misreporting included "starting the clock later than the point defined by the Department of Health, incorrect data management and the clocks on different servers not being synchronized which meant that time taken to respond was not calculated correctly," it added.
Health Minister Lord Warner said, "the Department of Health takes misreporting of NHS performance data extremely seriously and is determined to ensure transparency and consistency in reporting."
He said measures had been put in place to ensure no repetition in future, and said that irregularities were found in only a minority of trusts and patient safety had not been compromised.
Lord Warner said: "The ambulance service has performed well against the back-drop of a record number of calls. We are determined to secure further improvements. The reforms that we are implementing from last year's ambulance review will lead to better response times for emergency calls and will also see ambulances delivering a wider range of healthcare to patients."