Concerns have been raised over ambulance response times in the Cotswolds.

It is being argued that residents in the Cotswolds are at greater risk of dying in a life-threatening situation than people who live elsewhere in Gloucestershire, as it will take longer for an ambulance to reach them.

Ambulance services in the UK must respond to Category 1 calls, those classified as life-threatening, in an average of seven minutes.

But a letter sent to the chief executive of South West Ambulance Service last month stated: "Since November 2019, average response times in the Cotswolds have never been below nine minutes, peaking last winter at approximately 12 minutes and more recently this summer at approximately 14 minutes.

"For all but one month during this 22-month window, the Cotswolds has been the poorest performing district."

Leader of the Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, who wrote the letter, added: "“The Ambulance Trust, along with all of our health services, have been under extreme pressure since the start of the pandemic – and all the health staff deserve our overwhelming thanks for the work they’ve been undertaking.

“However, it is unacceptable that, due to slow ambulance response times, residents in the Cotswolds have a much lower chance of surviving a life-threatening condition than every other district in Gloucestershire."

Across the country there have been reports of ambulances queueing outside hospitals, with the sector experiencing some of the highest ever levels of demand

South West Ambulance Service have responded to more than 20,000 incidents for 25 consecutive weeks since the start of May, compared to levels prior to Covid-19 which were around 18,500 incidents per week.

Will Warrender, chief executive of South Western Ambulance Service, said: “We are sorry some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance because of hospital handover delays, which are a result of the NHS being under severe pressure.

“We continue to experience the highest-ever level of sustained demand on our service, and are dealing with a new 999 incident every 29 seconds.

“Our response times are directly affected by the time it takes us to handover patients into busy hospital emergency departments, which is longer than we have ever seen before.

"On Monday 25 October we lost more than 900 hours to handover delays; two years ago we lost approximately 400 in an average week.

"Having 30% of our ambulances queuing outside hospitals and unable to respond to other patients has an inevitable impact on the service we can provide. This is a system problem which therefore demands a system solution.

“It is an absolute priority for us and our NHS partners to reduce these delays, so we can be there for our patients, while prioritising those who are most seriously injured and ill.”