MP slams the ambulance service as Cotswold response times 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.”
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