AN MP is calling for improvements to ambulance response times which are failing to hit targets in parts of West Suffolk.
David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, fears lives are being put at risk after the East of England Ambulance Service struggled to reach call-outs within the desired time frame.
The target is for ‘serious cases’ to be reached within eight minutes of a call in 75 per cent of cases and for transport, where required, to be provided within 19 minutes of a call in 95 per cent of cases.
But, according to latest figures released by the ambulance service, in the 12 months from November last year, on average, the ‘serious cases’ target was only met in 29 per cent of cases in the Ixworth area – with some weeks dropping as low as nine per cent – in 58 per cent of cases in Stowmarket, Bacton and Haughley and in 44 per cent of cases in the Bradfield villages, Felsham and Drinkstone – with some weeks as low as 13 per cent.
The transport target was met, on average, in 87 per cent of cases in the Ixworth area – with one week as low as 25 per cent – and in 87 per cent of cases in Stowmarket, Bacton and Haughley.
In the Bradfield villages, Felsham and Drinkstone, the transport target was met.
Response times in Bury St Edmunds North and South paint a brighter picture, with the transport targets met, on average, in 80 per cent of cases in the North and 95 per cent of cases in the South and the ‘serious cases’ target met, on average, in 98 per cent and 96 per cent of cases respectively.
Mr Ruffley said: “The 999 target is vital – the ambulance reaching the patient within eight minutes of the call being made really can make the difference between life and death. I shall be pressing for next year’s statistics to show a marked improvement.”
A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said: “These weekly averages relate to data taken over a year from November 2010, however, significant improvements in response times for Suffolk have been recorded over the past few months due to much hard work in the area and work is still ongoing to build on this further.”