Ambulance response times remain below target in much of Gwent
2:26pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
EMERGENCY ambulance services in Wales continued to underperform against response time targets during July.
For the 14th month in a row, the target of reaching 65 per cent of category A emergencies inside eight minutes was missed - and only in Newport, of Gwent's five council areas, was performance up on the same month last year.
The 'blanket' eight-minute response time for emergency calls is set to be replaced next year, as a result of a recommendation following Professor Siobhan McClelland's review earlier this year of ambulance services in Wales, which concluded that response time targets should be revamped to better reflect clinical need.
But until then, the eight-minute target remains the key measure by which the service in Wales is judged, and the monthly ambulance figures have for more than a year now provided fertile ground for debate and criticism for politicians and the public in Wales.
In Newport in July, 69.5 per cent of category A emergency calls were reached with eight minutes, comfortably the best performance by the ambulance service in Gwent.
The next best performance here was Monmouthshire (57.4 per cent), followed by Blaenau Gwent (56.9 per cent), Caerphilly (55.8 per cent), and Torfaen (53.7 per cent). The latter two areas were in the bottom three in Wales for performance by the ambulance service against the eight-minute target.
Despite the Newport performance, the overall emergency response time outcome for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area in July was 59.4 per cent, the second worst of Wales' seven health board areas.
July's performance figures have attracted a range of criticism and there appears to be a growing clamour for the recommendations of the McClelland and other reviews to be implemented sooner rather than later.
"It is time for us to realise the benefits of these (reviews)," said William Graham, Conservative AM for South Wales East.
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