Ambulance response times in South West among slowest in the UK

Two hospitals in the region have declared critical incidents.

Ambulance response times in the South West are among the worst in the UK, new data has revealed.

According to figures released by NHS England, ambulance response times in the region for some of the most serious conditions are almost three times slower than the national target.

It comes as two hospitals in the region — Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth and Treliske Hospital, in Truro — have declared critical incidents.

On average, ambulances took 9 minutes and 38 seconds to respond to Category 1 calls for life-threatening injuries in the region in September.

It is the second-longest response time for Category 1 calls in the country, and over two minutes slower than the national target of seven minutes.

Ambulance response times in the South West were some of the slowest in the country. Credit: PA Images

The average response time for Category 2 calls, which cover incidents like strokes, was 47 minutes and 34 seconds — the longest response time in the country.

It is also nearly three times slower than the national 18-minute target.

In a statement, a spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry that we were unable to provide a timely response to some patients during this period. Any occasion where the care we provide falls below the high standards our patients deserve and rightly expect is unacceptable.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our people and partners, our response times from the middle of January 2023 onwards have recovered to a more stable position, compared to the post-pandemic period, but there is still more to do.

“Handover delays at emergency departments remain our single, biggest challenge. We recognise that this is also a challenge for our NHS partners across the South West, and we continue to work hard with them, to ensure we are able to hand patients over within the 15-minute national target, so our ambulances are available to attend the next emergency call within the community.”