by Paul Hodgkinson on 31 May, 2014
A Liberal Democrat motion calling for urgent improvements to ambulance response times was debated and supported unanimously at Gloucestershire County Council yesterday.
The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) continual failure to meet their 75% target in responding to ‘Red’ calls within 8 minutes in four out of six districts in Gloucestershire prompted the debate.
Commenting, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (LD: Bourton-on-the-Water & Northleach) said:
“The latest figure for Gloucestershire shows that the 8 minute response target is being reached across the county in 69.4% of cases.
“This figure however masks a real divide in what could be argued as a two tier service. Cheltenham and Gloucester show 88% and 87%, but Stroud, Tewkesbury and Forest of Dean ambulance response rates are much lower with the Cotswolds being just 46%.
”Lives depend on an effective and efficient ambulance service. No one doubts that getting to an incident in more remote areas is more challenging but if a target is set surely the service should be structured so that it is achieved?
“I am pleased that we got cross-party support over this very important issue and that both the Leader and Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council will now write to the CEO of the Trust calling on the Service to improve the ambulance response times.”
Also, commenting about the Ambulance Trust’s latest announcement of an additional £700,000 of resources for Gloucestershire to improve performance, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson said:
“The extra resources is very good news. I am delighted that the Trust has finally seen that there is a real need to act on improving performance. I look forward to seeing how these additional funds will impact the Cotswolds.”
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