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Poor response times show Welsh ambulance service still in crisis

September 24, 2014 10:06 AM

Kirsty conference stageThe Welsh Liberal Democrats have said that the Welsh ambulance services are "in crisis" as figures published today show yet another decline in ambulance response times, despite pledges by the Welsh Labour Health Minister to improve the service in three months.

Figures released today show that 56.9% of emergency responses to 'Category A' immediately life-threatening ambulance calls arrived at the scene within 8 minutes. Labour's target is 65%, which is the lowest of its kind in the UK, and has been missed again.

These figures are down from 58.3% in July 2014, and down from 61.8% compared to August 2013.

Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

"Labour's Health Minister pleaded to be given three months to improve these terrible ambulance response times. Three months later, and ambulance response times are worsening again. How much more time do Labour Ministers need before they'll admit that they just can't run our health service?

"These figures are atrocious. To have only half of immediately life-threatening calls responded to within the 8 minute target time is absolutely unacceptable, and are the mark of an ambulance service in crisis.

"With so many problems like stroke and heart attacks, time is absolutely crucial in ensuring the best possible recovery. By failing to buck up on poor ambulance response times, the Welsh Labour Government is draining our NHS by spending money on treatments that could otherwise be avoided.

"The Welsh Labour Government's own target is unambitious and is considerably lower than the equivalent targets in England and Scotland, yet it is still routinely missed.

"Ambulance staff work incredibly hard and do an extremely difficult job, but even they privately admit that they're not being given the resources they need to serve the people of Wales. The threats of a strike show how they are at the end of their tether. The Welsh Labour Government ran out of second chances long ago - we need to see improvement now, as it's the people of Wales that are suffering under Labour's watch."