There is significant variation in ambulance response times to patients with serious conditions such as suspected strokes or heart attacks, which is not fully explained by how rural an area is, an HSJ analysis has revealed.
The exclusive analysis represents the first time ambulance performance for category two calls, which have an 18-minute response time target, have been broken down to clinical commissioning group level. Category two, known as emergency calls, covers a wide range of conditions, including suspected stroke and heart attacks (except cardiac arrests), major burns and epileptic seizures. They account for well over half of ambulance responses.
The findings — described as “alarming” by the Stroke Association — lay bare the incredibly long waits which are usually hidden, because average waiting time data is usually published for ambulance trusts, which cover far larger areas than CCGs.
Mark MacDonald, Deputy Director of Policy at the Stroke Association, said: “It is alarming to hear that in some cases ambulance staff are taking over an hour to reach patients because when it comes to stroke, being assessed quickly and then, if necessary, transferred to hospital, is really important.”
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Source: HSJ, 5 March 2020