A NEW ambulance is to stationed in the North Cotswolds for a three-month trial period in a bid to improve “unacceptable” response times.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has agreed to station the extra 12-hour double crewed ambulance to see whether it will help reduce response times.

It follows a meeting between Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton- Brown, Councillor Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council, and South West Ambulance Trust chief executive Ken Wenman and chairwoman Heather Strawbridge.

Latest figures for Gloucestershire show the eight-minute emergency response target is being met in 69.4 per cent of cases against the target of 75 per cent.

But in the Cotswolds they are much lower, at just 46 per cent.

Following the meeting, which Mr Clifton-Brown described as “pretty frank and blunt on both sides,” the ambulance trust has said it recognises the importance of improving performance in rural areas.

But all parties are hoping it will help lead to improvements.

Cllr Stowe said: “I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot scheme and hope that it will become a permanent extra resource in the future.”

Mr Wenman said there has been an eight per cent increase in demand for ambulances in Gloucestershire this year, while slow hospital turnaround times are also contributing to problems.

But he said the trust recognises the importance of improving performance in rural areas.

“Many new initiatives and investments are already underway within Gloucestershire, including additional funding for extra ambulances alongside increasing the number of community responders and better access to community defibrillators,” he said.

“A three-month trial will also take place which will see an extra double-crewed ambulance within the north Cotswold area.”

Last month, the trust announced two new ambulances.