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Decline in Ambulance response times is deeply worrying

November 28, 2012 4:51 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has expressed his concern to official figures that showambulance response times in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend lagging well below the all-Wales target. The all-Wales figure has also fallen to 59.9%.

The Welsh Government's all-Wales target is for 65% of category A (immediately life-threatening) calls to have an ambulance response time within eight minutes. The Bridgend area though has returned a figure for October of just 50.9%. In Neath Port Talbot only 52.8% of calls saw ambulances turning up within 8 minutes for the most serious cases.. Swansea's response time also lags well behind with 60%.

Mr. Black said: "The response time figures released today are deeply worrying. The all-Wales figure of 59.9% for October is the lowest so far this year. We have the slowest ambulance response times in the whole of the UK, and that is despite the Welsh Labour Government having set a response time target which is fully 10% below the English target of 75%.

"Yet rather than seeing the service improve, it is getting worse. In parts of Gower the dependence on part-time fire fighter co-responders is growing. In one case a co-responder waited 45 minutes with a 15 year old suffering from chest pains before a paramedic arrived.

"Our ambulance staff strive for excellence, but face immense pressures and have to work with increasingly stretched resources. They need to be able to count on the Welsh Government to help them do their job properly. At the moment, that is clearly not happening.

"Last month the Welsh Liberal Democrats exposed the fact that the Welsh Ambulance Service budget had not been set a full six months into the financial year. The Welsh Labour Government had forced the Ambulance Trust into an impossible position. It is clear that Wales is suffering the consequences of having a Welsh Labour Government that is wholly inept at handling our NHS.

"In the Welsh Liberal Democrat ambulance debate held earlier this month, the Labour Health Minister announced there will be yet another review into the performance of the ambulance service. This will be the ninth review in six years - we've seen enough reviews, what we want to see is improvement."

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