MP slams the ambulance service as Cotswold response times are worst in the South West

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: MP slams the ambulance service as it is revealed that response times in the Cotswolds are worst in the South West MP slams the ambulance service as it is revealed that response times in the Cotswolds are worst in the South West

AMBULANCE response times in the Cotswolds are the worst in the whole of the South West of England, according to the latest figures.

Data shown to Gloucestershire County Council’s Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee last month showed that ambulances attending life-threatening calls in the Cotswolds have failed to meet their target by nearly 30 per cent.

The national target for 999 callouts is that 75 per cent of patients should be responded to within the specified time of eight minutes.

However, the new figures reveal that just 46 per cent of Cotswold patients were being responded to within the set time.

Ambulances in Cheltenham in Gloucester reached 94 per cent and 88 per cent of emergency patients, respectively, within the eight minute target time.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, said: “As I warned when the Gloucestershire Ambulance Service was merged with Gloucester, Wiltshire and Avon Ambulance Service, patients’ lives may be put at risk.

“The ambulance provision appears to be simply not good enough for my constituents in the Cotswolds and I will be demanding an urgent explanation from the chief executive of the ambulance services and if I am not satisfied that he has robust plans in place to improve their performance in the future, I will raise the whole matter with health ministers.”

In 2007, 23-year-old Rebecca Wedd was left dying after being struck by a car while on her way to the May Ball at the Royal Agricultural University.

It took 45 minutes for an ambulance from Gloucester to arrive at the scene. Rebecca died in hospital the next day.

Nearly three years after Rebecca’s death, health chiefs bowed to public pressure and agreed to increase the number of ambulances based in the Cotswolds to two.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for the Cotswolds, said: “These latest figures are deeply worrying. Every performance target for our area has been missed and often spectacularly.

“I am appalled that the performance is so poor compared to other areas. In a large rural area there will always be more time taken to get to a patient but this surely has to be factored into the service.”

South Western Ambulance Service said that rural areas like the Cotswolds “have always represented a challenge” when it comes to response times.

A spokesman said: “Currently the average time it takes for an ambulance resource to arrive at the scene of a RED emergency call is 9.44 minutes within the Cotswold locality 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 of activity and demand. This will allow us to review the current allocation of resources across the trust.”

Comments (7)

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6:33pm Thu 12 Dec 13

David Broad says...

Its worse than the figures suggest, we just don't bother with 999,last time we just bundled the casualty into a car and headed for A and E, but that was when we had a local A and E...
Its worse than the figures suggest, we just don't bother with 999,last time we just bundled the casualty into a car and headed for A and E, but that was when we had a local A and E... David Broad

9:12am Fri 13 Dec 13

Iansky says...

What price life?
What price life? Iansky

2:36am Sat 14 Dec 13

Ed Browne says...

I have nothing but praise for the Cirenceser ambulance crew that attended my wife when she collapsed. They were there within minutes and thanks to their dedicated efforts and the decisions they made, they saved her life! Without them my wife would not be here today! Words cannot describe how thankful I am to them!
I have nothing but praise for the Cirenceser ambulance crew that attended my wife when she collapsed. They were there within minutes and thanks to their dedicated efforts and the decisions they made, they saved her life! Without them my wife would not be here today! Words cannot describe how thankful I am to them! Ed Browne

7:25pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Anonymous2756 says...

The main problem is that there are not enough ambulances to meet operational demand. We work our socks off every day, driving hundreds of miles to people who phone us because they have cut their finger and don't have a car to take them to hospital, or because a GP sends us to someone who could perfectly easily get a taxi to hospital. Although yes there are definitely problems with the service, if we weren't called to non emergencies we would be able to respond within good time to real emergencies. It's an embarrassment to us when we aren't utilised for what we are meant to be doing, and what we are trained to do. If people thought twice about phoning a 999 emergency ambulance then maybe we wouldn't be in this situation, and would be appreciated for what we do.
The main problem is that there are not enough ambulances to meet operational demand. We work our socks off every day, driving hundreds of miles to people who phone us because they have cut their finger and don't have a car to take them to hospital, or because a GP sends us to someone who could perfectly easily get a taxi to hospital. Although yes there are definitely problems with the service, if we weren't called to non emergencies we would be able to respond within good time to real emergencies. It's an embarrassment to us when we aren't utilised for what we are meant to be doing, and what we are trained to do. If people thought twice about phoning a 999 emergency ambulance then maybe we wouldn't be in this situation, and would be appreciated for what we do. Anonymous2756

8:26am Sun 15 Dec 13

Cotswold Paramedic says...

I would echo my colleague above. Paramedics are highly trained medical orofessionals. We punch way above our weight when you compare our capabilities with our in hospital colleagues on similar pay bands.

I would ask the public to PLEASE PLEASE think about why you are calling 999, you wouldn't call the coastguard if you stepped in a puddle and you wouldn't call the fire brigade if you burnt the toast! Paramedics are being called to hangovers, common colds, toothache and more. We could be going to the emergency calls mentioned above. Think before you dial.

Please only call an ambulance if you have a potentially life threatening condition. If not, call 111 or your doctor.

This is a plea from your local paramedics. Hopefully the media will help us spread this message, with endorsement from our local politicians, who can assist by stopping cuts in our funding. This would help massively.

Cotswolds Paramedics.
I would echo my colleague above. Paramedics are highly trained medical orofessionals. We punch way above our weight when you compare our capabilities with our in hospital colleagues on similar pay bands. I would ask the public to PLEASE PLEASE think about why you are calling 999, you wouldn't call the coastguard if you stepped in a puddle and you wouldn't call the fire brigade if you burnt the toast! Paramedics are being called to hangovers, common colds, toothache and more. We could be going to the emergency calls mentioned above. Think before you dial. Please only call an ambulance if you have a potentially life threatening condition. If not, call 111 or your doctor. This is a plea from your local paramedics. Hopefully the media will help us spread this message, with endorsement from our local politicians, who can assist by stopping cuts in our funding. This would help massively. Cotswolds Paramedics. Cotswold Paramedic

10:42am Mon 16 Dec 13

oldlongdog says...

I take the point from the paramedics about not wasting their time with trivial call-outs but this is really about cuts to the service. We are the 6th or 7th richest trading nation in the world and yet we apparently 'cannot afford' to run a proper ambulance service. All our Air Ambulances are run by charities and now our Air Sea Rescue has been privatised, immediately losing the benefit (cost and training) of having the Armed forces do it.

Our public services are important to our public life. They are vital to our health and well being but they have been systematically smashed to pieces by politicians under the spell of the economic theories of Friedman and Hayek, and the Chicago School of Economics. For thirty years we have suffered this whilst tax reductions are given to the rich, ever more tax loopholes have been created and the passage of such vital revenues into offshore tax havens is eased.

Meanwhile, what money we do have is 'urinated up the wall' with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, vanity rail projects and billions in profits to privatised service providers who are charging for shoddy, if not nonexistent, services. To cap it all, we have magicked out of thin air £270 billion to pour into the black hole of the banking sector, money which has disappeared without a trace whilst the bankers pay themselves huge bonuses and continue to commit criminal frauds and mis-selling products to people and businesses.

Our roads are full of potholes, our libraries are gone, our schools are struggling for money (except those new academies that are run by ideological extremists and employ unqualified teachers). Our A&E departments are being closed - did anyone else notice that the four people injured in the pile-up outside Cirencester hospital had to be taken to Swindon A&E?!

We are told everything in the past was worse than it is now but on the Rec in Tetbury is a little building rotting away by the gates - it's the old ambulance station… At what point are we going to wake up and realise we have been conned by this Zombie Capitalism that has everyone chanting the mantras of 'the market', 'efficiency' and 'competition' whilst our lives are being literally stolen from right in front of us? And at what point will Cotswold residents finally make a connection between perennially voting Conservative and this ongoing destruction? However well off you think you are, next time it could be you or your children that needs one of these services, and no amount of class or money will bring you or them back to life.

If you want a good book for Christmas then try Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine or better still her inspiration The Cancer Stage of Capitalism by Prof. John Mc Murtry.
I take the point from the paramedics about not wasting their time with trivial call-outs but this is really about cuts to the service. We are the 6th or 7th richest trading nation in the world and yet we apparently 'cannot afford' to run a proper ambulance service. All our Air Ambulances are run by charities and now our Air Sea Rescue has been privatised, immediately losing the benefit (cost and training) of having the Armed forces do it. Our public services are important to our public life. They are vital to our health and well being but they have been systematically smashed to pieces by politicians under the spell of the economic theories of Friedman and Hayek, and the Chicago School of Economics. For thirty years we have suffered this whilst tax reductions are given to the rich, ever more tax loopholes have been created and the passage of such vital revenues into offshore tax havens is eased. Meanwhile, what money we do have is 'urinated up the wall' with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, vanity rail projects and billions in profits to privatised service providers who are charging for shoddy, if not nonexistent, services. To cap it all, we have magicked out of thin air £270 billion to pour into the black hole of the banking sector, money which has disappeared without a trace whilst the bankers pay themselves huge bonuses and continue to commit criminal frauds and mis-selling products to people and businesses. Our roads are full of potholes, our libraries are gone, our schools are struggling for money (except those new academies that are run by ideological extremists and employ unqualified teachers). Our A&E departments are being closed - did anyone else notice that the four people injured in the pile-up outside Cirencester hospital had to be taken to Swindon A&E?! We are told everything in the past was worse than it is now but on the Rec in Tetbury is a little building rotting away by the gates - it's the old ambulance station… At what point are we going to wake up and realise we have been conned by this Zombie Capitalism that has everyone chanting the mantras of 'the market', 'efficiency' and 'competition' whilst our lives are being literally stolen from right in front of us? And at what point will Cotswold residents finally make a connection between perennially voting Conservative and this ongoing destruction? However well off you think you are, next time it could be you or your children that needs one of these services, and no amount of class or money will bring you or them back to life. If you want a good book for Christmas then try Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine or better still her inspiration The Cancer Stage of Capitalism by Prof. John Mc Murtry. oldlongdog

1:50pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Rubies27 says...

Clearly the general public have worked out that it's easier to dial 3 numbers that are free and not 11 numbers which they are billed for!
Clearly the general public have worked out that it's easier to dial 3 numbers that are free and not 11 numbers which they are billed for! Rubies27

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