Too many ambulances are not getting to patients with life-threatening conditions fast enough in Wiltshire.

The latest figures show only 62.54 per cent of Red 1 calls – which require an ambulance within eight minutes – get there that fast. The ambulance service’s target is to reach 75 per cent of top priority calls in that time.

For Red 2 calls – also for an ambulance in eight minutes – the rate was 65.33 per cent, again with a 75 per target.

The service provided in Wiltshire comes bottom in one category, and next to bottom in the other, in the 12 Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area covered by the service.

The figures cover April-June this year. Red 1 calls are seen as most time critical medically, including cardiac arrests. Red 2s may be life-threatening, but are less time critical.

Wiltshire was part of Great Western Ambulance Service, before it merged with South Western Ambulance Service in February, covering Wilt-shire, Gloucestershire, Avon, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

CCG chief Deborah Field-ing and chief finance officer Simon Truelove have met South Western chief executive Ken Wenman, asking for action, but admit the difficulties of the rural location.

A South Western spokes-man said the primary reason it was not hitting targets was a rise in 999 calls – up 5.9 per cent on last year – including a significant number from the 111 non-emergency hotlines.

He said: “The trust attends between three and four Red 1 calls per day in the Wiltshire area. If these are in remote areas, achievement of the 75 per cent standard is a significant challenge.”

Improvements planned include more Community First Responders to operate defibrillators in Corsham and Bradford on Avon, more rapid response vehicles and a review of resources.