THE ambulance service in the Cotswolds has been attacked by the leader of the district council who has said it is “not fit for purpose”.

Cllr Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council, made the sniping remarks after it was revealed that less than half of all 999 calls in the Cotswolds are met within target times.

He said: “I think even those official statistics mask the truth and distort the real picture in our Cotswold communities.”

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

However, it came to light last year that only 46 per cent of Cotswold patients were met by an ambulance in that timeframe.

Cllr Stowe said: “These diabolical delays simply aren’t acceptable when it comes to our blue light response services, which can be a matter of life and death.”

The council leader finished by saying that three more ambulances and crews need to be based in the district at Northleach, Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh.

He said: “The Cotswolds is completely under-resourced. We know that the people on the ground are first class people, but there are not enough.”

Neil Le Chevalier, deputy director of service delivery at South Western Ambulance Service, said that a number of initiatives, such as public responder schemes and community defibrillators are in place to improve response times in the Cotswolds.

“These initiatives do not change the priority of a 999 call, they just ensure the patient suffering can begin to receive the required care in the crucial first few minutes of an emergency,” he said.

“We are committed to delivering better care every year, ensuring that all our patients get the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Cotswold Parliamentary candidate for the Lib Dem, will present a motion to Gloucestershire County Council later this month demanding a better ambulance service for the district.