Yorkshire ambulance call response 'England's worst'

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has the worst response times in England, new NHS figures show.

The service responded to 70.8% of emergency call-outs within eight minutes in the year up to April 2010. The government target is 75%.

In March the healthcare regulator, the Care Quality Commission, told the ambulance trust it must improve and meet national targets by 31 October.

YAS admitted it had been 30 seconds short of the targets but was improving.

The new figures, released by the NHS Information Centre, show YAS responded to 70.8% of emergency calls within eight minutes, compared to 69.4% in 2008-09.

Call increase

Simon Worthington, acting chief executive of YAS NHS Trust, said he was "committed" to making further improvements.

He said: "During 2009-10 the trust reached 75% of patients in Yorkshire with potentially life-threatening illnesses or injuries within eight minutes and 30 seconds.

"By the end of May 2010, our year-to-date performance for Category A calls showed that we had improved further and we are responding to 75% of patients within the eight minute target."

Mr Worthington said the improvements had been made despite a 6% increase in emergency calls in the last year, due partly to the "worst winter weather on record for 30 years".

He said the trust had invested "heavily" in frontline resources by recruiting an additional 275 staff and spending more than £5.5m on modernising and expanding its fleet.

He added: "Response times are not the only way we measure the improvements to patient care and, at YAS, we are proud of the high quality clinical care we provide."

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