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Way off the 999 targets
9:11am Thursday 27th February 2014 in News
CALLS have been made for better ambulance response times in the Cotswolds, after latest figures show targets are still not being met.
New figures presented at the last Gloucestershire’s latest Health Scrutiny committee meeting show ambulances have been taking longer to get to patients in the Cotswolds then anywhere else in the region.
As previously reported in The Journal, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said it had requested an independent review into the poor performance following similar figures three months ago.
But latest data shows up to November last year, only 46.6 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 48.4 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.
Paul Hodgkinson, Gloucestershire County Councillor for Bourton and Northleach, said these latest figures are still not good enough.
He will be presenting a motion to Cotswold District Council (CDC) at its meeting today (Thursday) to press the ambulance service to meet its targets.
"The latest figures for ambulance response times are very worrying," he said. "The figures haven't got any better, they are still really bad which is why I'm putting a motion up to CDC to get the backing of the council to put pressure on the ambulance service and improve its performance.
"What I'm looking for is the whole council to get behind me to send a clear message the Cotswolds deserves better.
"These ambulance figures in some cases are exceptionally poor. We need a service which is as good as the towns. It's a critical service that people depend on and in some cases their lives."
A spokesman for the trust said: "It has long been recognised that the small number of Red 1 calls, unpredictable in nature and location, make achieving the Red 1 performance target a real challenge for SWASFT.
"South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is very focused on meeting the eight-minute response target and a range of initiatives have been put in place to help improve our performance in this area.
"These include the recruitment of Community First Responders and the roll out of public access defibrillators, as well as a number of internal schemes to make more staff available at peak times. "Whilst we are seeing some improvements in our performance across the South West, we are still finding it a challenge to meet response times in our more rural areas, including the Cotswolds."