Targets for ambulance response times missed in Flintshire


Owen Evans

AMBULANCE response times in Flintshire are still well below national targets in April.

Just 56.1 per cent of responses to category A calls – where there is an immediate threat to life – arrived within eight minutes last month.

Out of 661 responses, only 371 made it within eight minutes.

The Welsh Government target for category A calls is for 65 per cent of responses to be within eight minutes.

The figures for the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust are an improvement on last month, where 53.2 per cent of responses were within eight minutes.

Aled Roberts, North Wales Liberal Democrat AM, said: “These April ambulance response times for Flintshire are not the worst and indeed are an improvement on the figures for March and February.

“The problem is that they are still well below the Welsh Government’s target of 65 per cent and over the last 18 months there has not been a consistent pattern of improvement.

“Let’s hope the improvements made since February this year can be maintained now the Welsh Government has introduced new commissioning arrangements.”

Wrexham returned the best results in Wales, with 70 per cent of category A calls arriving within eight minutes. Out of 570 responses, 399 made it with in the target time.

In North Wales overall, the results were below the national target with 61.1 per cent of responses arriving within eight minutes.

The figures come just one week after a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives revealed more than 2,000 people who called an ambulance in Flintshire and Wrexham last year had to wait more than one hour for a ‘first response’ to arrive.

‘First responses’ is the time between the emergency call and the first ambulance service presence arriving on the scene.

In Wales overall, 321 of the responses which took more than an hour were classed as ‘category A’ calls.

In a separate Freedom of Information request by the Leader, it was also revealed more than 17,000 patients waited longer than the target 15 minutes in ambulances outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, last year.

Almost 60 patients were waiting outside the hospitals for more than four hours.

l AMBULANCE staff are working hard to meet the Welsh Government’s 65 per cent target category A calls.

That is the view of Mike Collins, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s director of service delivery, who said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service took 35,192 calls via 999 in April, more than a third of which (13,979 calls) were of the most serious in nature.

“We recognise that on occasion we are short of the eight-minute target for the most serious calls, but are working as hard as we can to get to patients as quickly as possible.”

Mr Collins added: “Resolving handover delays at hospitals remains a number one priority, and we continue to work with our colleagues in all seven local health boards to ensure patients are handed over as safely and as quickly as possible so our staff are available in the community for the next 999 call.

“The trust is using other methods of care where possible to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions including Alternative Care Pathways, a system designed to make better use of community-based services.

“Advanced paramedic practitioners also provide a wider range of specialist healthcare at the scene of an incident or at a patient’s home.

“In addition, the trust supports the discharge and transfer of patients out-of-hours to release beds in hospitals which, in turn, supports the improvement of patient flow in the emergency departments.”

See full story in the Leader

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