AMBULANCE response statistics released show North Wales as a whole is slower to respond to emergency calls – but is still hitting most targets.
Figures released for February 2012 show that, compared to the same period last year, North Wales Ambulances got to emergency calls within eight minutes 6.37% less of the time. However, the region is still just reaching targets, with a response rate of 65.6%, slightly above the all-Wales figure of 65%
Six of the seven counties in North Wales also managed to reach the 60% target for local authorities. Only Flintshire came in below target, with a 58.9% response rate. Conwy topped the board with 75.6%, and was the best county in Wales.
The Welsh Ambulance service says it was a very busy month, meaning services were stretched across the region. They said Wales had 7% more callouts than February 2011 and added: “We – like the rest of the NHS – faced a difficult February. This was due to an increase in seasonal flu and norovirus which in turn resulted in delays at hospitals and had an impact on our performance inevitably leading to delays in responding to some patients.”
A spokesperson for the Betsi Cadwaladr health board said the Norovirus outbreak in February restricted bed availability in hospitals.
They added: “At times this has made it more difficult to transfer patients into wards from our A&E departments and this has led to some delays in admitting patients into A&E.”
Originally published in the Daily Post
The all-Wales target of 65% was missed by nearly 2%, at 63.2%
The Welsh Government said: “Despite the hard work of staff, the ambulance service just missed its target for responding to immediately life-threatening calls in February due to significant clinical pressure across the NHS.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service said the trust is committed to continued improvement.
Darren Millar AM, Shadow Minister for Health, said: “These are very disappointing figures showing that ambulance response time targets have been missed for the second time in three months.
“Despite a largely mild winter, ambulance response times have fallen in every local authority area in North Wales compared to the same period last year.
“Hardworking paramedics need to be backed up by fresh investment in response vehicles and smoother transition arrangements at hospitals to prevent ambulances being blocked up waiting to transfer patients.”