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More should be done to ensure ambulance response times meet targets - North Devon MP Nick Harvey

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

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More should be done to ensure ambulance response times meet targets - North Devon MP Nick Harvey

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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.”

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4 comments

  • YvonnePJansen  |  December 11 2013, 9:51PM

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  • Stork  |  December 11 2013, 12:28PM

    One of the main reasons why the Ambulance Service fails to meet their target times, throughout the UK, is due to the fact that many ambulances spend too much time " parked up" outside hospital A & E departments waiting to discharge patients into the hospitals. However, because of hospital admission targets. The hospitals don't want to admit "said" patients because their own target clock starts ticking, the moment the patient effectively steps, or is carried over, the hospital threshold. If the Ambulance Service was only allowed to "park up" for say 10 minutes outside A & E, then there would be more ambulances "on station" to meet their target response times. The Government are in charge of both the NHS and the Ambulance Services, so they can easily sort the problem out. What's actually needed is some more Doctors/ Nurses and hospital beds. It's not rocket science. The bottleneck is the A & E department.

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  • Fatalist  |  December 11 2013, 10:19AM

    I thought the "rural-ness" of the region was precisely why an air ambulance was commissioned. Oooh, but that isn't paid for the Nick Harvey's bunch is it? So the figures would be worse still if the helicopter wasn't included in the calculations and local people didn't dig deep in their pockets to subsidize the work of the ambulance service in the south west.

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  • nickthompson  |  December 11 2013, 9:59AM

    Would someone please remind Nick Harvey that his party is in Government, and that his time and effort would be better spent telling his governments to stop spending cuts to the NHS, than coming on this page seeking self publicity, and that you cannot keep cutting funds to public services and not notice the service they provide deteriorate.

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