Ambulance response times worsen according to latest statistics

January 16, 2022 7:23 PM

South Western ambulance response times for the most serious incidents increased to nearly 12 minutes in December. The service has the longest average response times in the country for both Category 1 and Category 2 calls, new Ambulance Service Statistics have revealed.

The statistics released by NHS England show that average wait times for the most serious incidents, such as cardiac arrest, have worsened in every region in England over the past month. Ambulance services across the country are failing to meet both the Category 1 and Category 2 callout times, highlighting the pressure the NHS is facing.

Locally, the statistics show that ambulance wait times for the most urgent Category 1 calls in South Western area worsened further between November and December last year, with patients across the area being left to wait even longer when they called an ambulance. Wait times for Category 1 calls in South Western reached highs of 11 minutes 38 seconds in December, well over the NHS target of an average 7 minutes. The average wait time is 36 seconds longer than in November. Category 1 ambulance calls are those that are classified as life-threatening and needing immediate intervention and/or resuscitation, e.g. cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Urgent Category 2 callouts had an average wait time in December of 1 hour and 13 minutes. This is six and a half minutes longer than the North West ambulance service, the next-worst performer, and nearly an hour longer than the NHS target. The NHS target for "Category 2" callouts is 18 minutes. Category 2 ambulance calls are those that are classed as an emergency or a potentially serious condition that may require rapid assessment, urgent on-scene intervention and/or urgent transport. For example, a person may have had a heart attack or stroke, or be suffering from sepsis or major burns.

Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to commission an investigation by the Care Quality Commission without further delay.

Responding to the new figures, Ruth Gripper, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Truro and Falmouth, said:

"These latest figures just show once again what severe pressure our health services are facing. We need real investment in our area with a plan from the Government - this has to include social care as well as the NHS.

"We've all seen pictures of the ambulance queues at Treliske. This situation is putting huge pressure on hard-working ambulance and hospital staff and it is putting people's lives at risk.

"Government needs to get a grip on this issue. The Conservatives have taken Cornwall for granted for decades and now we're seeing local patients and families pay the price. Waiting times across the country are going up, health and social care services are struggling, staff are under immense pressure, and sadly it looks like things are getting even worse."