South West Ambulance Service misses heart attack target

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Ambulances in Devon and Cornwall have failed to meet a national target for heart attack response times.

A South Western Ambulance Service report found the service had reached 72.74% of cardiac arrest patients in eight minutes between April and August.

The Department of Health's target for crews reaching patients within that time limit is 75%.

Delivery director Neil Le Chevalier said the service was "under pressure" but was recruiting more staff.

The report looked into 4,718 Red 1 calls in the period, which accounted for about 2% of all emergency calls.

Red 1 calls are the most time critical and cover cardiac arrest patients who are not breathing and do not have a pulse, according to the Department of Health.

Mr Le Chevalier said the service reviewed its performance "every day".

"We are under pressure. Year on year, we have 6% rise on activity with very few new resources to meet that demand."

He added that the service had recruited "130 new staff, both paramedics and care assistants on our ambulances, to make sure our resources are more robust for the winter".

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