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Concern as ambulances fail to hit the target

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

By richard youle

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AMBULANCE response times in Wales last month were the lowest all year — with Neath Port Talbot among the worst-performing areas.

Only 52.8 per cent of life- threatening calls in the county were answered within eight minutes. The target is 65 per cent.

The October figures for Swansea and Carmarthenshire were 60 per cent and 60.9 per cent respectively.

The top-performing county was Wrexham, with 71.7 per cent, while the Wales average was 59.9 per cent.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said ambulance response times in Wales were the slowest in the UK, and claimed the situation was getting worse.

The Welsh Government has reiterated that a review into the service had been ordered, and pointed out the service received six per cent more life-threatening calls in October than September.

AM Ms Williams said: "While ambulance staff are striving for excellence, they are facing immense pressures and having to work with increasingly stretched resources.

"They need to be able to count on a Welsh Government to help them do their job properly. At the moment, that is clearly not happening."

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "Current (ambulance response) performance should be seen in the context of wider pressure on the NHS emergency care system and rapidly increasing demand, including a 6 per cent increase in calls categorised as life-threatening since September.

"The Health Minister has commissioned a review of Welsh Ambulance Services which will include specific focus on how improvements can be achieved in the responsiveness of the emergency ambulance service.

She added: "The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with local health boards and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to achieve improvements."

Ms Williams said: "This will be the ninth review in six years — we've seen enough reviews, what we want to see is improvement."

And she claimed the review had been announced "off the cuff" and that it had taken 22 days to come up with the terms of reference.

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  • Jiffy  |  November 30 2012, 9:03AM

    The Welsh Ambulance Service has been a disgrace for years. Run like the fire service - far too many chiefs and not enough indians. http://tinyurl.com/3rqdr95

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