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Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar, talks to ITV Wales in response to today's ambulance response times.
Last month, 14,067 calls to the Welsh Ambulance Service were assessed and categorised as serious and immediately life-threatening.
The service took 36,101 calls during August, up by 494 calls from the same period last year but down by 1,971 calls from the previous month.
In response to today's figures on ambulance times, the service said they're working hard to reach patients within the target times set by the Welsh Government.
Since April the Trust has recruited 79 extra staff into its workforce across Wales.
Resolving handover delays remains our top priority and we are working with all Local Health Boards in Wales to minimise these where possible. Over the summer months we have increased our use of HALOs (Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers), clinicians and non-clinicians employed by the Trust to ensure individual handover delays are escalated to senior managers at all affected hospitals and that plans are in place to ensure delays are minimised.
The emergency healthcare system across Wales is under significant pressure and demand for our service remains very high. We recognise that on occasion we fall short of the eight-minute target but are working as hard as we possibly can to get to patients as quickly as possible.
The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader says today's ambulance response time figures are a 'national disgrace'. Kirsty Williams AM said: "There is no hiding from the fact that our ambulance service is in crisis."
Once again we see ambulance response times getting worse. The current target is not at all ambitious, yet still it is routinely missed.
These figures remain a national disgrace. To have only half of immediately life-threatening calls responded to within the eight minute target time is a huge concern.
There is no hiding from the fact that our ambulance service is in crisis. Monthly targets are missed and there is evidence the problem is getting worse, rather than better. It is shocking that response times are nearly 10% worse now than they were this time last year. Patients deserve better than this.
The Welsh Government has admitted that the Welsh ambulance response times for August are not where they want them to be.
August’s figures are disappointing and are not where either the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, health boards, the Welsh Government or the public would want them to be.
However, an analysis of these figures shows they are an improvement on the service’s performance in five of the past six months and the difference in the median response time in August compared to that in July is a matter of just eight seconds.
Speaking at the end of June, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford set out a three-month timetable for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to improve its emergency response time performance – we are currently only two-thirds of the way through that programme.
Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar says that an ambulance response time of eight minutes "can make the difference between life and death".
The Welsh Government target of ensuring 65% of ambulances arrive on scene within eight minutes has been missed again.
Despite having the lowest target in the UK for ambulance performance in response to emergency calls, Labour’s target has only been met once in the past two years.
It is particularly worrying that performance has been so dire during a largely warm, dry summer and these figures do not bode well for the winter months ahead.
For a patient who has had a stroke or heart attack, an ambulance response within eight minutes can make the difference between life and death. Urgent answers are needed from Labour Ministers as to how they have left this to go on for so long and what action they intend to take to put it right.
The response time target for the Welsh Ambulance Service has been missed. In August, 56.9% of ambulances arrived at the scene within 8 minutes – the government's target is 65%.
August's figure is down from 58.3% in July and from 61.8% in August 2013.
Figures out today also showed that the Ambulance Service yet again failed to meet its response times.Read the full story ›
The Health Minister "expects to see ongoing improvement" in ambulance response times, the Welsh Government said today.
We welcome the improvement the Welsh Ambulance Service has made, with 58.3% of emergency responses to the most immediate life-threatening calls arriving at the scene in eight minutes, up from 53% in June.
There has also been an increase in demand over the previous month, with a 7% rise in the number of emergency calls with more than 38,000 for July.
However, the service needs to continue to build on this improvement in response times. The Health Minister expects to see ongoing improvement, with targets being achieved month on month.
The ambulance fleet continues to be upgraded with Welsh Government investment, with a further £4m announced today and additional funding for the recruitment of more than 100 frontline staff. It is now for the Welsh Ambulance Service to improve its performance.