THE Welsh Government came under attack today after opposition parties said the ambulance service had missed its response time target for almost a year.

The Welsh Ambulance Service aims to meet life-threatening 'category A' calls within eight minutes 65 per cent of the time - but in April this was missed in Wales with only 57.2 per cent of calls being responded to that time.

Opposition parties said the service had now missed its response times target for its 11th successive month.

However the Welsh Government pointed out that the proportion of category A responses in eight minutes had risen from 53.3 per cent in March.

In Gwent, 50.4 per cent of life-threatening calls were met within eight minutes, down from 67 per cent in April last year.

Performance had slightly improved on March in Gwent, when 50 per cent of 'category-A' calls answered in eight minutes.

In Blaenau Gwent 53.3 per cent of category A calls came within the target time of eight minutes, up from 50.5 per cent in March, compared to 48.5 per cent in Caerphilly, up from 46.1 per cent.

But in Torfaen the proportion of cat A calls answered in eight minutes fell from 45.1 per cent to 43.4 per cent.

The figure for Monmouthshire also fell from 51.2 per cent to 48.1 per cent, and there was a slight fall in Newport from 57 per cent to 56.9 per cent.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams said she supported the decision by Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford to keep the eight minute target which was "vital" to compare the service to the rest of the UK.

Darren Miller of the Welsh Tories said while he appreciated that Mr Drakeford was starting to implement recommendations of the latest ambulance service review "axing A&E services and record-breaking cuts in the Welsh NHS are only going to make matters worse."

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said while improvements were encouraging "more needs to be done to ensure performance improves in the long term.

She said: "The minister for health and social services has accepted a number of recommendations made following the recent review of Welsh Ambulance Services, with focus on delivering a clinical service to ensure patients receive the right response, at the right time and in the right place."