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We’re response kings
10:30am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
AMBULANCE crews in Swindon are the best in the region for responding to incidents within the target eight minutes – but response times across the rest of the county are the worst.
It comes as some GPs in Wiltshire say they would be willing to accept a target of 20 minutes for ambulances to get to patients rather than the national target of eight minutes.
The comments were made as response times in Wiltshire were revealed to be significantly below target, and South Western Ambulance Service has commissioned the firm Lightfoot to do an independent review into its performance – costing £160,000.
South Western took over operating in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon in February after it merged with Great Western Ambulance Service.
It was reported last month that SWAS was below the 75 per cent target of sending ambulances to patients in Wiltshire within eight minutes for Red 1 and Red 2 calls – Red 1 are the most time-critical calls including cardiac arrest patients, while Red 2 calls may be life-threatening but are less time-critical.
Latest figures for August show that Red 1 performance in Wiltshire was 56.73 per cent while from April to August it was 61.98 per cent, the worst performance in the whole South Western area. Red 2 performance was 63.45 per cent between April to August.
In contrast, performance in Swindon was the best in the whole South Western area: Red 1 was 89.07 per cent between April and August and Red 2 was 89.19 per cent.
At a meeting of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body in Devizes on Tuesday, the CCG’s chief officer Deborah Fielding said the only way a 75 per cent response rate could be achieved in Wiltshire would be if there was a huge amount of money spent on more ambulances and staff.
Dr Jonathan Rayner, a GP in Wanborough, said: “As a rural GP I’m more concerned about getting someone there in 20 minutes rather than eight minutes. Whether we can challenge that target I don’t know.”
Dr Celia Grummitt, a GP in Salisbury, said: “Some of the targets are set at a national level and are never going to work out here. The eight-minute rule can’t work everywhere in Wiltshire.”
A spokesman for SWAS said: “SWAS has appointed Lightfoot to undertake a strategic efficiency review across the South West region. The results will enable SWAS to identify whether our resources are in the right place at the right time and provide the data to support options for improving service delivery. It will enable us to tailor our service delivery according to the requirements and challenges of specific areas.”
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