This week my call for urgent improvements to ambulance response times was debated and supported unanimously at Gloucestershire County Council.
The issue was first brought by me to full council in May 2014 where unanimous cross-party support was given for a motion calling for urgent improvements to ambulance response times in the Cotswolds, Stroud, Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean.
Eighteen months on and the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) is still failing to meet its 75% target in responding to the most urgent calls within 8 minutes. We know that paramedics do a brilliant job and that the ambulance service has been trying to improve performance, but more action must be taken.
The latest ambulance performance report published this autumn shows simply dreadful figures for our area. We cannot ignore the fact that the response times have in fact got worse.
For example, in September of this year the 8 minute target for Red1 incidents (immediately life-threatening conditions) was achieved in only 38.46% of cases in the Cotswolds. Last September 2014, the same target was achieved in 53.3% of cases in our area. So the gap actually widened.
Finally, the Council’s Health and Care Committee have now also been given full council backing to explore the option of creating a county-wide ambulance service rather than a regional one.
I’ll keep you posted on developments as I know it’s an issue that can impact on us all.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson Glos County Councillor (Bourton & Northleach).http://paulhodgkinson.mycouncillor.org.uk/