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Ambulance service misses 999 target
11:00am Friday 1st June 2012 in News
AMBULANCE service managers have admitted paramedics are failing to reach the most serious emergency calls on time.
Under targets set by the Government, South Central Ambulance Service crews should get to the scene of 75 per cent of these calls within eight minutes.
But according to the figures for last week, only 69 per cent of the 1,438 calls received were attended on time.
The number of calls received was up by 20 per cent from the same week in 2011, when there were 1,191 incidents.
The service covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
Response times specifically for Oxfordshire were above the target, at 79 per cent. But when broken down by districts within the county, South Oxfordshire saw a poorer service, with only 60 per cent of emergency calls attended within eight minutes.
SCAS manager John Nichols said: “Part of the issue is how the public use the ambulance service.
“High demand for urgent care across the health and social care system means that the 999 system is used by the public as a safety net when patients are either unable or unsure how to access other parts of the NHS.”
Mr Nichols said the service was working with the police to prosecute hoax callers, and was looking at ways of working closely with community care providers like doctors and nurses, so it did not always have to take patients to hospital.
County councillor Dr Peter Skolar, who is chairman of the council’s health overview and scrutiny board, said he had asked for a breakdown of how many seconds the service was missing the response targets by.