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Ambulances take longest in Cotswolds
10:10am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
AMBULANCES are taking longer to get to patients in the Cotswolds than anywhere else in the region, according to latest figures.
The information which was presented at a Gloucestershire health and care overview and scrutiny committee meeting, shows that ambulances have missed target response times in every category presented.
This year, only 46 per cent of emergency crews arrived within eight minutes of receiving ‘Red 1’ life-threatening calls, compared with the national target of 75 per cent.
And just 48.9 per cent of emergency call-outs are hitting the target response time for ‘Red 2’ calls, which may also be life threatening and need urgent response.
County councillor Paul Hodgkinson said the figures were deeply worrying. “Every performance target for our area has been missed and often spectacularly,” he said. “No other district has a worse record so far this year.
“Coming off the back of reduced A&E opening times at Cheltenham hospital, this is another blow for health services in the Cotswolds.”
Sue Sandars, aged 51, of Blockley, who suffered a stroke in 2010, said: “It’s not good enough. The more time people wait for an ambulance to come after having a possible stroke it’s cutting down the time on getting to the hospital and getting the clot-busting treatment.”
Overall, the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (North Division), which covers the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, was below the 75 per cent, target with 72 per cent.
A spokesman for the trust said improvements would take time following the merger with Great Western Ambulance Service in February.
“Many rural areas like the Cotswolds have always represented a challenge in terms of ambulance response times, a challenge that the trust will continue to rise to,” he said. “Currently the average time it takes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of a RED emergency call is 9.44 minutes within the Cotswolds and we are working hard to bring this within the required eight minute standard. It is for this reason that we have requested an independent review.”
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