Ambulance response times worsen in many parts of Wales

August 5, 2009 11:08 AM

New statistics released by the Welsh Assembly Government today show that performance in some parts of the Welsh Ambulance Service is worsening and that overall, very little progress is being made, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Peter Black has said. The service has a target of responding to 65% of 'Category A' emergency calls within eight minutes. The statistics released today cover June 2009 and show that on average 66.7% of calls were responded to within this time, an increase of only 0.2%. However, in many areas performance actually worsened, in some cases by as much as 10% prompting fears of a two tier service depending on which part of Wales people live in. The biggest drop in performance came in Monmouthshire, which saw emergency response times fall from 56% within 8 minutes to 45.5% in June, and Blaenau Gwent where responses times fell from 69.9% to 59.9%. Powys also continues to prop up the league table with a 49.6% response time even though they had a slight improvement in their performance this month. Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister Peter Black said: "While on the surface these stats show a tiny improvement across Wales, it is actually quite worrying the way that regional differences are creating a two tier service. These are not just numbers on a chart. How quickly an ambulance can get to an incident can be the difference between life and death. "In a Welsh Liberal Democrat-led debate only a few weeks ago the Minister recognised that there was a problem in particular areas and said that 'there must be a sustained focus in those parts of Wales where adequate performance has yet to be achieved', however that has still failed to materialise. "There are particular structural problems to do with access to accident and emergency departments and critical care beds that are contributing to problems in these areas that the Minister needs to urgently address. "We cannot allow this situation to continue. The Minister has to take some responsibility for knocking heads together across all the organisations involved and get the investment in place that is needed to address the issues raised by these statistics."

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