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South West response times worst in the country
2:00pm Friday 13th December 2013 in Devon
SOUTH West Ambulance Service has said that 'high quality emergency and urgent care services' remain their top priority after it emerged that the region has the country's worst response times.
Latest figures from NHS England have shown that only 68% of the service's ambulances reached the most serious category of incident within eight minutes during October - well below the national average of 74.6%.
Just 717 of the 1049 responses to critical 999 calls hit the target, but a spokesman for the South West Ambulance Trust cited a number of reasons for the figures, whilst also assuring people that emergency care is their top priority.
The statement said: “The data for ambulance services nationally shows that the targets for red one and red two calls were narrowly missed during the month of October.
“South Western Ambulance Service was one of the organisations who unfortunately did not meet the required 75% on this occasion. Like all ambulance trusts around the country, the service is facing an ongoing increase in demand for its services meaning more calls to respond to and increasing numbers of patients requiring care.
“An additional challenge for the south west region is that it is predominantly rural, with many isolated communities. This area of the country also has the highest percentage of elderly people who are more likely to access our services, especially in the run up to and during winter.
“The Trust would like to make an assurance that the provision of high quality emergency and urgent care services remains our top priority.”
The figures have sparked a parliamentary row after a Freedom of Information request by the Labour Party also revealed that waiting times have been on the increase for the past two years.
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