Overall ambulance targets met, but north fares worse

An ambulance outside Wansbeck Hospital, Ashington.
An ambulance outside Wansbeck Hospital, Ashington.

Councillors are continuing to keep a close eye on how well the region’s ambulance service is performing across the county.

As reported by the Gazette earlier this month, a number of local and regional politicians have raised concerns about the North East Ambulance Service’s (NEAS) response times, particularly in north Northumberland.

At a recent meeting of the county council’s care and wellbeing scrutiny committee, the service provided a report on ambulance activity in quarter two of 2014/15 – up to the end of September last year.

In terms of the most serious cases, which are described as category A and further split as red one and red two, an emergency response is required within eight minutes in 73 per cent of cases, while a patient transport response is required within 19 minutes in 95 per cent of cases.

The latest figures show that in Northumberland, the eight-minute targets are being met and are above average nationally, while the overall 19-minute figure was on target at 95 per cent.

The report also reveals that in situations where the eight and 19-minute targets were missed, the majority of incidents received a response within two minutes of those target times.

However, in the north of the county, many wards are seeing below-average performances with the majority seeing less than 70 per cent of red calls responded to with eight minutes and less than 90 per cent meeting the 19-minute target.

Contrary to concerns raised by parish councillors, Wooler saw the best performance in quarter two.