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Calls to improve ambulance response times unanimously supported
5:54pm Tuesday 3rd June 2014 in News
A MOTION calling for urgent improvements to ambulance response times was unanimously supported at Gloucestershire County Council.
Liberal Democrats proposed the motion at last week's meeting over the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) continual failure to meet their 75 per cent target in responding to ‘Red’ calls within eight minutes in four out of six districts in Gloucestershire.
Latest figures for the county shows the eight minute response target is being reached across the county in 69.4 per cent of cases.
But Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, (Bourton and Northleach) said the figure masked a "real divide" in what could be argued as a two tier service.
"Cheltenham and Gloucester show 88 per cent and 87 per cent, but Stroud, Tewkesbury and Forest of Dean ambulance response rates are much lower with the Cotswolds being just 46 per cent", he said.
”Lives depend on an effective and efficient ambulance service. No one doubts that getting to an incident in more remote areas is more challenging but if a target is set surely the service should be structured so that it is achieved?
“I am pleased that we got cross-party support over this very important issue and that both the Leader and Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council will now write to the CEO of the Trust calling on the Service to improve the ambulance response times.”
The motion follows the ambulance trust's latest announcement of an extra £700,000 of additional resources for Gloucestershire to improve performance.
This will include an additional 24-hour frontline ambulance for both Stroud and Staverton as well as an additional 12-hour Rapid Response Vehicle for Staverton and another 120 defibrillators across the county.
Cllr Hodgkinson added: "I am delighted that the Trust has finally seen that there is a real need to act on improving performance. I look forward to seeing how these additional funds will impact the Cotswolds.
"Every quarter the trust releases figures on the response times for each area. I will be looking at those to see if any improvements are being made in the Cotswolds."
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: "The Trust is working hard with partners in Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and with Councillors through the Health Scrutiny Committee to improve its performance in some rural parts of Gloucestershire.
"A great deal of work has already been undertaken to improve response times in rural areas. The Trust will await the letter from Gloucestershire County Council but is confident that it can address the issues raised."
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