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Health Minister hiding behind yet another ambulance review

November 8, 2012 9:44 AM

Following the debate on the Welsh Ambulance Trust called by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the Health Minister has ordered a review into the Trust. Commenting on yet another review, Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"The Health Minister seems to believe that calling for another review into the ambulance service will solve all its problems. Over the last decade, we've seen countless reviews into the ambulance service and the Labour government still can't guarantee that an ambulance will get to you within eight minutes 65% of the time.

"This will be the 9th review in six years. I have no confidence that the Health Minister will be able to ensure that the people of Wales will have an ambulance service that meets the needs of the population.

"The Ambulance service is doing a very difficult job and that is exacerbated by the incompetence of Labour's poor handling of our health service.

"It is shameful that our Ambulance Trust has had to wait eight months before it was given a final budget. People across Wales, in all walks of life, will know that organisations, however big or small, cannot work to the best of their potential if they do not have a set budget. It beggars belief that the only people who don't understand this is the Welsh Labour Government. Once again the Welsh Labour Government is getting the basics wrong.

"Ambulance response times in Wales are notoriously slow. Month after month we are seeing the already low threshold response time target being missed. It is completely unacceptable for the people of Wales to have put up with an inferior ambulance service. Why can people in Scotland and England, making an urgent ambulance call, expect an ambulance to arrive within 8 minutes - 75% of the time - but under in Labour in Wales, people have to settle for a 65% target? The response time of the ambulance service can, literally, mean the difference between life and death.

"This is yet another part of our NHS that the Health Minister clearly doesn't have a handle on."