Wiltshire GPs would accept 20-minute ambulance response times
Some GPs in Wiltshire say they would be willing to accept a target of 20 minutes for ambulances to get to patients rather than the national target of eight minutes.
The comments were made as response times in Wiltshire are below the national target and South Western Ambulance Service has commissioned a company, called Lightfoot, to carry out an independent review into its performance at a cost of £160,000.
South Western took over operating in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon in February after it merged with Great Western Ambulance Service.
It was reported last month that South Western was below the 75 per cent target of sending ambulances to patients in Wiltshire within eight minutes for Red 1 and Red 2 calls - Red 1 are the most time critical calls including cardiac arrest patients while Red 2 calls may be life threatening but are less time critical than Red 1.
Latest figures for August show that Red 1 performance is Wiltshire was 56.73 per cent while between April to August it was 61.98 per cent, the worst performance in the whole South Western area. Red 2 performance was 63.45 per cent between April to August.
In contrast, performance in Swindon was the best in the whole South Western area. Red 1 performance was 89.07 per cent between April and August and Red 2 performance was 89.19 per cent.
At a meeting of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body in Devizes today the CCG’s chief officer Deborah Fielding said the only way a 75 per cent response rate could be achieved in Wiltshire was if there was a huge amount of money spent on more ambulances and staff.
Dr Jonathan Rayner, a GP for Ramsbury and Wanborough, said: “As a rural GP I’m more concerned about getting someone there in 20 minutes rather than eight minutes. Whether we can challenge that target I don’t know.”
Dr Celia Grummitt, a GP in Salisbury, agreed with a 20-minute target: “Some of the targets are set at a national level and are never going to work out here. The eight-minute rule can’t work everywhere in Wiltshire.”
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said: “SWASFT has appointed Lightfoot to undertake a strategic efficiency review across the South West region.
"The results of this review will enable SWASFT to identify whether our resources are in the right place at the right time and provide the data to support options for improving service delivery.
"It is hoped that the data will help us to understand what is causing the significant increases in activity across the region so that we can improve plans to respond to this rise.
“We recognise the current challenges to the ambulance service in Wiltshire, which has seen a significant rise in activity across a broadly rural area. This review will enable us to tailor our service delivery according to the requirements and challenges of specific areas.”
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