Health Minister, Mark Drakeford has set a target for an '' urgent improvement" in ambulance response times . He's demanding that the Welsh Ambulance Service steps up its performance within three months.
The Welsh Ambulance Service has responded to criticism over its failure to meet its response time targets for the most urgent calls.
It says its response times have been affected by an increase in the number of calls received, and "lengthy handover delays at some hospitals."
The service says it recognises the fact that it does not always meet its targets, but says it is working as hard as possible to provide the best treatment for patients.
The Welsh Ambulance Service took 36,544 calls in May, up by more than 1,350 calls from the previous month and more than 1,700 calls from the same period last year.
The emergency healthcare system across Wales is facing continuous pressure with an ageing population and more people suffering long-term conditions.
An increase in the most serious type of emergency calls combined with lengthy handover delays at some hospitals has had an impact on our response times to incidents, and we would like to recognise the hard work, commitment and dedication of all our staff during this difficult time.
– Mike Collins, Director of Service Delivery, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust
We recognise that on occasion we are short of the eight-minute target for the most serious calls, but are working, and will continue to work, as hard as we can to get to patients as quickly as possible.
We are committed to improving ambulance services in Wales as outlined in our clinical transformation and modernisation programme, Working Together for Success.
It also urges the public to use the most appropriate NHS services, and says "please remember only to dial 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk."
Plaid Cymru's Health spokeswoman Elin Jones is calling the latest ambulance service response times "disastrous", after it again failed to meet response targets.
– Elin Jones AM, Plaid Cymru Health Spokeswoman
These disastrous figures show that the Labour Welsh Government has once again failed to meet its target. This is the worst performance in over a year and reflects Labour's failure to properly run the health service.
Behind these statistics are real patients who have waited too long for life saving emergency treatment and have had their health suffer as a result.
According to official figures released today, the Welsh Ambulance Service has again failed to meet its response time targets.
In May, 54.1 per cent of ambulances reached life threatening incidents in eight minutes down from 56.7 per cent in April and below the target of 65 per cent.
– Welsh Government Spokesperson
Ambulance response times for May are very disappointing. There is more health boards can do to help but the Welsh Ambulance Service itself needs to demonstrate urgent improvements in its performance.The key elements of the McClelland review have now been put in place. Welsh Government investment has upgraded the ambulance fleet. In this financial year, an extra £7.5m has been agreed, which will allow the recruitment of more than 100 frontline staff. It is now for the Welsh Ambulance Service to turn all this into the required standard of performance.
The Welsh Conservatives are blaming a lack of investment from Labour ministers and a failure to address logjams at A&E departments.
– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health Minister
Another month and another fall in ambulance response times in the Labour run Welsh NHS. Labour Ministers have missed their ambulance response time target for critical category A life threatening calls almost every month for the past two years. An immediate medical response to a heart attack, stroke or serious accident can make the difference between life and death.
The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams is labelling the figures as a "national disgrace".
– Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Targets aren't being met. Ambulance response times are getting worse. Year after year, month after month, this situation is getting worse but the Welsh Labour Government is still failing to do anything about it.