‘Severe pressure’ blamed for missing ambulance targets

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service has blamed “severe pressure” for missing response targets on almost three out of ten of the most urgent calls.

The service achieved the eight-minute response time for 71.68 per cent of such calls, compared with a target of 75 per cent.

The figures mean the service is below the national average for response times for so-called red 1 calls, which include cardiac arrest or life-threatening or traumatic injuries.

It also missed its 75 per cent target for red 2 calls, including patients with serious breathing difficulties or a suspected stroke.

A spokesman for the trust said it is facing an increase in demand for services and said the high number of elderly people in the area and the number of rural, isolated communities make it difficult to meet targets.

“South Western Ambulance Service was one of the organisations who unfortunately did not meet the required 75 per cent on this occasion” he said.

“Like all ambulance trusts around the country, the service is facing an ongoing increase in demand for its services meaning more calls to respond to and increasing numbers of patients requiring care.

“The trust would like to make an assurance that the provision of high quality emergency and urgent care services remains our top priority” he added.

The figures, which cover the month of October, have just been released. The service, an NHS foundation trust, covers the South West of England, including the whole of Dorset.

The NHS has promised to pump an additional £15m into ambulance services across England to help improve response times.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham recently claimed taxis and police cars had been used to take seriously ill people to hospital in some parts of the country.

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