Gloucestershire Lib Dems are leading the campaign for a better ambulance service across Gloucestershire. Our paramedics do a fantastic job across the County but are very stretched and in rural parts of Gloucestershire ambulance response times are very poor.
We've all heard of examples of where an elderly person has taken a fall or where someone has been taken sick at home and had to wait hours for an ambulance. In the 21st Century this isn't good enough.
A recent report revealed that the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) are failing to meet their 75% target in responding to the most urgent calls within 8 minutes.
Figures for 1 April to 30 September 2015 for the Cotswolds showed that – against a target of 75% success – SWASFT only achieved these priority eight minute response times for about 46% of Red 1 and 50% of Red 2 incidents, compared with ratings of 65% and 63% for the county as a whole. The situation has improved a little since then but targets are still being missed.
The issue was first brought by the Lib Dems at a county council meeting in May 2014 and again in 2015 where unanimous cross-party support was given for motions calling for urgent improvements to ambulance response times in the Cotswolds, Stroud, Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean.
In spite of the fact that the issue of ambulance performance is being monitored by both the Council’s Health and Care Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) and the South Western Ambulance Service Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee improvements have yet to be made.
What can be done?
Liberal Democrats want to see a number of steps taken in order to improve the situation.
1. More ambulances and paramedics across the County. - It is clear talking to paramedics and the staff that work dispatching ambulances that we simply don't have the resource to meet demand. Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats will work to secure more ambulances and paramedics to meet demand.
2. More education about when to call an ambulance.
3. Explore the creation of a County Ambulance Service.