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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cumbria ambulance response times hit new target

Ambulance crews in Carlisle are managing to meet tough Government targets according to latest figures.

According to the statistics, half of 10 ambulance trusts failed to meet the response target – 75 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes – which is set by the Department of Health (DoH).

However, according to the figures, North West Ambulance Service improved last year by answering 76.7 per cent of its category A emergency calls within the eight minute target – 273,000 incidents out of a total of 355,700 calls during 2011/2012.

This compares with 73.6 per cent for the previous year and 73 per cent for the year before that.

A DoH spokesman said: “When people need help they should be able to rely on a safe, fast, 24/7 ambulance service.

“It is the responsibility of the local NHS who are best placed to ensure the services provided meet the needs of the local population.”

There were several cases which did not meet the eight minute target including:

  • An elderly woman left bleeding and shivering in the street waiting 25 minutes for an ambulance after she suffered a head injury
  • A young girl suffered head injuries after she fell from her bike and had to wait for almost an hour for the ambulance because the crew could not find her – she was only a mile or so from the ambulance base on the new Carlisle bypass.

Colin Todd, a national officer with the GMB union, said delays of more than an hour to emergency situations was becoming more common and when an ambulance service did meet its eight-minute target it might not send a fully manned paramedic ambulance.

He said: “Increasingly, advanced first aiders are being sent to 999 emergencies in an ambulance to hold fort until paramedic help arrives. All too often the ambulance doesn’t arrive too quickly leading to distress and patients suffering unnecessarily.”

The target was introduced by the Labour government in April 2001 and it replaced the previous 14-minute target to help reduce deaths from heart attacks.

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