UUP MLA: Ambulance response times putting public at risk

Many ambulances are failing to respond to life-threatening calls within target time limits

A RISE in ambulance response times is putting the public's safety at risk, Ulster Unionist assembly member Jo-Anne Dobson has said.

Figures from the Department of Health, released following an assembly question from Ms Dobson, show that a high percentage of life-threatening emergency calls are not responded to within the eight-minute target

According to statistics, around 52 per cent of life-threatening calls in March last year were responded to within the time target, compared to around 65 per cent in March 2014.

Targets say that 72.5 per cent of life-threatening calls should be responded to within eight minutes.

Ms Dobson said over the last 24 months response times had deteriorated "with even one month in 2015 witnessing only 49.9 per cent of ambulances arriving within eight minutes".

She blamed health service cuts and said paramedics were being "forced to work in almost impossible circumstances".

"The deterioration in response times and the general collapse in hospital waiting times can be directly attributed to the crisis in the NHS finances, a situation that the current Minister of Health Simon Hamilton helped to create whilst he was the Minister of Finance," she said.

"It is my genuine hope that the revelation of these figures, as well as the recent belated increase in funding, will ensure that our emergency services are adequately resourced from now on."


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