Town councils’ support Monmouth man's 999 campaign

GAINING SUPPORT: Matthew Davies at the Senedd

GAINING SUPPORT: Matthew Davies at the Senedd

First published in Gwent news South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A MONMOUTH-based ambulance campaigner is gaining support in his calls for a cross-party scrutiny inquiry into the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Matthew Davies, whose mum, Jacqueline, died in January 2011 following a more than 40-minute wait for an ambulance, has won the support of Chepstow and Monmouth town councils.

He asked both councils to write to the health and social care committee at the National Assembly and said an inquiry must focus on shortcomings in accountability and transparency, together with performance targets and budgeting challenges.

Mr Davies, who handed in a petition to the Senedd in February last year calling for scrutiny into ambulance services in rural Wales, wants his points to be considered once the current review announced late last year by health minister Lesley Griffiths, and an audit of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust have been completed.

His call comes as ambulance response times deteriorated across Gwent in December as the service struggled to cope with extra demand.

Ambulance crews have a 60 per cent target for responding to category A calls (immediately life-threatening) within eight minutes.

Monmouthshire’s category A response rate has fluctuated in recent months, the latest figure, for December, being 54 per cent.

Performance against the target in the county reflects a Wales-wide deterioration.

The all-Wales figure for December was 56.1 per cent.

Mr Davies said: “I want to know what’s going on in the service and that can only happen through a crossparty inquiry. There’s no reason why Lesley Griffiths’ review will be any different from previous ones.

“I’m not here to blast the service, I don’t want what happened to me happening to anyone else,” said Mr Davies.

The chairman of the Assembly’s health and social care committee, Mark Drakeford, said he would ensure it considers whether the matter should be added to a list of future inquiries, but the initial reviews had to be carried out first.

Mr Davies is due to meet Abergavenny town councillors at the end of the month.

● Jacqueline Davies, 49, from Monmouth, died in hospital of hypoxic brain injury and probable pneumonia on January 20, 2011, after collapsing at her home nine days earlier.

An inquest was told that bad weather, problems handing over patients at A&E departments, and high numbers of calls meant there were no ambulances available to attend Ms Davies, and emergency services took more than 40 minutes to reach her.

Deputy assistant coroner for Bridgend and Glamorgan Valleys Wayne Griffiths recorded a narrative verdict.

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