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Increased waiting times show South Lakes needs another ambulance - Farron

November 14, 2016 3:42 PM

Figures uncovered by South Lakes MP Tim Farron show that waiting times for some ambulance services in the North West have doubled over the last five years. Some of the most urgent calls last year took up to four times as long as the national target. Given the extra challenge of providing this service in such a rural area, Tim is calling for an extra ambulance for South Lakeland.

Since 2011/12, the waiting times for many ambulance services in the North West have increased significantly, with some categories of call now taking twice as long. Although the most urgent calls have only seen a very marginal increase, Green 1 response times have increased by over 50% while response times for Green 2 and Green 3 calls have more than doubled.

Emergency calls are sorted based on urgency, either as Red 1 or 2, or Green 1,2,3 or 4. Although less urgent than Red calls, Green 1 and Green 2 calls both still require blue lights and sirens.

Last year, the longest response time to an urgent red call took up to four times the national target. The longest Green 1 and 2 responses took over 6 times the recommended maximum.

Tim has written to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and to the government calling for an extra ambulance to be based in South Lakeland to ensure that patients are reached on time.

Tim said: "Ambulance staff here in the North West are doing a good job under very difficult circumstances, trying to ensure that they reach the most urgent cases as soon as possible. However, given the stresses that the whole service is under, this is having an impact on their ability to get to other calls. These are still emergency calls, and every minute can be crucial - it is extremely concerning that response times have increased so drastically.

"These figures are for the entire North West region, but I fear that in particularly rural areas like South Lakeland, it is often taking even longer for an ambulance to arrive. That is why I have written to the NWAS and to the government to call for an extra ambulance to be based in the South Lakes.