South West “worst” for ambulance response

Ambulances in the South West operated by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) took an average of 11 minutes and 10 seconds to respond to category one calls during September.

From today’s Western Morning News

Such calls are the most serious, for life-threatening conditions and injuries. The average was down from 11 minutes and 27 seconds in August, but was far longer than the target of seven minutes set by the NHS. It is also the longest wait for category one calls of any ambulance service in England.

Category two calls, which cover conditions like strokes, were responded to by SWASFT in an average of one hour eight minutes, well short of the 18 minute target and up from 59 minutes and 45 seconds the month before. It is the second-longest wait across England.

Category three calls, meanwhile, were responded to by SWASFT in an average of two hours 50 minutes, compared to a target of two hours, and category four calls were responded to within an average of three hours 22 minutes, compared to a target of three hours.

Response times vary across England. While SWASFT had the slowest response to category one calls, in London they were responded to in an average of seven minutes and 14 seconds.

A spokesperson for SWASFT said: “Our ambulance clinicians strive every day to give their best to patients, but our performance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to handover delays at emergency departments.

“Health and social care services are under enormous pressure. We are working with our partners to ensure our ambulance clinicians can get back out on the road as quickly as possible, to respond to other 999 calls within the community.”

For category one incidents, the average response time across England is nine minutes, 19 seconds. The best performing region is the North East, at seven minutes 14 seconds, and the worst is the South West, at 11 minutes 10 seconds.

East of England Ambulance service has the worst record for category two calls. Those calls should be responded to within 18 minutes, but in the east they take an average of one hour and 14 minutes. SWASFT had the second-longest wait time, at one hour, eight minutes and 53 seconds.

The England average was just under 48 minutes for a category two call. The East Midlands arrived in 53 minutes and four seconds, East of England in one hour 14 minutes and 12 seconds, with London, the North East, North West, South Central and South East Coast all around 40 minutes.