Ambulances missing response targets in parts of Kent

South East Coast Ambulance (Secamb) is failing to hit its targets in responding to emergency calls in parts of Kent, it has been revealed.

The service missed the government target of reaching 75% of "category A" calls in eight minutes in seven areas between April 2010 and March 2011.

The figure was 54.9% of the 3,064 calls it received from Sevenoaks and 66.1% of 3,233 calls in Tonbridge and Malling.

The average response figure across the county for 2010-11 was 74.9%.

A Freedom of Information request found Secamb missed its targets in Ashford, Dover, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells.

But the service responded to 83.6% category A calls in Dartford within eight minutes and also reached the target in Canterbury, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway and Thanet.

Secamb senior operations manager James Pavey, said: "Anybody waiting for an ambulance for longer than they have to is a concern.

"We don't want anybody to wait any longer than absolutely necessary so what we try and do is to ensure we put resources in the places at the right time to get to members of the public when they call us.

"It's quite a large and complex operation.

"We cover the whole of Kent, Surrey and Sussex these days and of course where we fall sort that is not good enough but we are doing an awful lot of things to improve matters."

'Too long'

He added: "To put it in context, the clock actually starts as soon as the phone is ringing in the ambulance control before we've actually picked it up.

"And the average response time for the area you're talking about in Sevenoaks is actually eight minutes and 39 seconds so that gives perhaps a little bit of an idea.

"Obviously that's too long. If anybody has waited eight minutes for an ambulance it feels a lot longer I can assure you."

Mr Pavey said they were moving towards "outcome-based targets" rather than time in future.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites