Pendle Councillors say 'lives put at risk' by slow ambulance response times (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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Pendle Councillors say 'lives put at risk' by slow ambulance response times
AN MP has slammed ‘unacceptable’ ambulance response times in a protest to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
New figures show between April and July this year, the North West Ambulance Service only hit the target response time of eight minutes in one in five calls outs in West Craven.
This is 20 per cent compared to the national benchmark of 75 per cent.
In calls considered serious, but not life-threatening, they responded to 54 per cent of call outs within the standard eight minutes.
It comes after figures for East Lancashire, between June 2012 and March this year, showed many patients were left waiting more than 14 minutes.
Detailed figures for the county have not been made available.
Crews are expected to respond to 75 per cent of ‘Red 1’ calls within eight minutes, but NWAS only met this target in 73.5 per cent of cases, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Red 1 calls cover cardiac arrest patients who are not breathing and do not have a pulse, plus other severe conditions such as airway obstruction.
Pendle councillors said the slow response times were ‘putting lives at risk’ and have now asked Mr Stephenson to step in to help.
Mr Stephenson said: “I’ve seen firsthand how hard our ambulance service team works to get to incidents as fast as possible. There is no doubt that they are incredibly hard working and highly professional.
“However, when you need an ambulance, minutes matter. The situation in West Craven is not acceptable and I have already raised it with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt and with the service itself. We need to see improvements in West Craven.”
Between October 2012 and April 2013 life-threatening and serious calls were classed together as ‘high priority’, and of 336 calls in West Craven only 49 per cent saw an ambulance arrive within eight minutes.
Coun David Whipp, chair of the West Craven Area Committee, said: “Along with the chief executive of the council, Stephen Barnes, and the council leader Joe Cooney, I recently met with bosses at the North West Ambulance Service to discuss the response times.
“This is an issue we have been discussing on the committee for around 18 months and while we have had various promises we are yet to really see a better service.”
Craven area councillor Ken Hartley said: “Lives are being put at risk by these response times.
“They talk about the ‘golden hour’ of treatment for heart attack victims. If you have a heart attack in Barnoldswick or Earby it will take at least 30 minutes to be transferred to hospital, so if you are waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance then that golden hour is disappearing.
“In May this year just 16.67 per cent of life-threatening calls were responded to in eight minutes. That is ridiculously low."
A NWAS spokesman said: “The ambulance service is commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group to meet the Government target of 75 per cent for category A life-threatening calls for the region as a whole and not by postcode, primary care trust, county or borough.”
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