Wales politics

Ambulance service fails key 999 response target

Ambulances at a hospital
Image caption The ambulance service last hit its eight-minute response target in May 2012

The Welsh Ambulance Service has failed to hit its target of reaching 65% of life-threatening incidents in eight minutes for the 17th time in 18 months.

The figure for November was 63.2%, down from 65.2% in the previous month which was the only time the national target had been met since May 2012.

The Conservatives claimed the October figure "now looks like a blip".

A Welsh government spokesman said the ambulance service continued to show "real resilience".

According to Statistics Wales 68.6% of life threatening calls were responded to within nine minutes, 87.7% within 15 minutes and 94.2% within 20 minutes during November.

All these responses were also lower than the figures for October.

The Conservatives' Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM said: "Sadly, it's back to missed response times targets and last month's achievement now looks like a blip.

"After 18 months of failure Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour trumpeted the last set of figures.

"Today I expect them to apologise and guarantee urgent improvements.

"With the potential for much colder weeks looming, this is an extremely worrying slip in performance."

Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams AM accused the Welsh government of a false promise.

"Patients in Wales deserve better and the minister needs to explain how lasting improvement is going to be made," she said.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "The McClelland Review of the Welsh Ambulance Service was clear that a shift is needed to targets which measure outcomes for patients. That is what we are now doing in Wales.

"In the meantime, the Welsh Ambulance Service continues to display real resilience in the face of growing demands and the start of winter pressures."

The spokesman added that the figures for November were a "testament to the hard work of paramedics and ambulance trust staff who are often criticised for failing to achieve a target that is only very weakly backed by evidence".

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