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Lives put at risk as ambulance response times fall yet again.

January 30, 2013 5:48 PM

Statistics released at the end of January have shown that ambulance response times in Wales have fallen far wide of expectations for the seventh successive month. The Government's all-Wales target is for 65% of category A calls - those deemed as immediately life-threatening - to receive an ambulance response time within eight minutes.

In Rhondda Cynon Taff the situation is dire - not once has the target been reached over the past year, and in December the figure plummeted to 43.5%.

Local Welsh Liberal Democrats say the figures are shocking and urgent action is needed by the Welsh Labour Government.

Trallwn Councillor Mike Powell said

"Not once in the past year has the target for response time been met in Rhondda Cynon Taff, and at only 65% the target itself is not particularly high - ten percent lower than in England. Residents deserve better. The December figures are the lowest in Wales"

"The situation is totally unacceptable. Lives are being put at risk by the inability of the service to meet demand. In life threatening situations then every minute counts, and it is unbelievable that the reaction of the Labour Health Minister has been so laid back. There has been review after review and no meaningful action.

"This is not the fault of the ambulance staff, but as result of issue over funding and bad management. The Chief of the Welsh Ambulance Trust is paid significantly more than his counterparts in English regions and in Scotland, yet results are poorer. It says a lot about the Welsh Government's attitude to public spending."

The month on month figures show that the highest percentage in Rhondda Cynon Taff was in January 2012 when they achieved a category A response rate of 60.5%, the only time in 13 months it has crept above 60%.

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign manager Karen Roberts added

"A public engagement exercise has just been carried out by the South Wales health boards in which there are suggestions that the number or consultant led major trauma and A&E centres should be cut. There is a chance that these services could be lost from the Royal Glamorgan and / or Prince Charles

"We have taken a balanced view of the proposals and recognised that some changes are necessary. However we have also stated that there needs to be reassurance given that the reorganised services will be adequate, and that there will be changes in the ambulance service which means we can be sure they will be able to cope with demand. These figures, coming month after month, do nothing to reassure us or the general public.

"It is also disappointing that local Labour Parliamentarians appear to be oblivious of what is happening - either that or they are too busy playing politics and afraid to openly criticise their own Minister."

Figures from Stats Wales.

RCT Wales

Dec 11 51.2 64.8

Jan 12 60.5 69.1*

Feb 12 50.8 63.2

Mar12 57.2 65.9*

Apr 12 56.1 67.8*

May 12 56.6 66.4*

Jun 12 54.6 64.5

Jul 12 55.4 64.1

Aug 12 55.5 64.2

Sep 12 54.9 64.2

Oct 12 57.1 59.9

Nov 12 56.4 58.4

Dec 12 43.5 56.1