NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey said more should be done to ensure ambulance response times meet performance targets after it emerged the South West had the worst in the country.
Latest figures reveal only 68% of ambulances in the South West reached the scene of the most serious category A cases within eight minutes in October.
This was the lowest of all 11 ambulance trusts and compares with 74.6% nationally for the most time-critical calls.
The data was released following a Freedom of Information request by Labour, which showed waiting times have been increasing for the last two years.
The South Western Ambulance Service was one of four trusts which failed to hit the 75% target.
It was also one of six which missed the target for responding to serious but less time-critical calls on time.
North Devon MP Nick Harvey said more should be done to ensure ambulances meet targets but said consideration should be given to the rural-ness of the county.
He said: “On the face of it these figures are cause for concern, but some consideration should be given to the rural nature of many areas in the South West when looking at the numbers.
“In North Devon we have a large number of isolated communities which may well push the average ambulance response time up slightly.
“This is also a difficult time for the Trust, which is under pressure to do more with squeezed resources, but nonetheless more should be done to meet performance targets in these most urgent of cases.
“I hope that going forward there will be discussions on how to improve things and I am sure this is something the region’s MPs will be keeping an eye on.”
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 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.
“An additional challenge for the South West region is that it is predominantly rural, with many isolated communities.
“This area of the country also has the highest percentage of elderly people, who are more likely to access our services.
“The trust would like to make an assurance that the provision of high-quality emergency and urgent care services remains our top priority.”