Yorkshire ambulances fail to reach 6,000 of most serious 999 calls in target time

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More than 6,000 of the most serious emergency 999 calls to Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) were not reached within the target of eight minutes last year.

The figures come after it emerged that ambulance trusts across the country, including YAS, are failing to meet the national benchmark of reaching 75 per cent of all ‘Red 1’ 999 calls within eight minutes.

YAS ranked the third worst of the eleven English trusts, responding to 69.9 per cent of the 20,200 Red 1 calls it received within the target time – a drop of more than eight per cent compared to 2013/14.

Statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that nationally 71.9 per cent of Red 1 incidents were reached by paramedics within eight minutes.

The HSCIC has found that last year saw a record nine million emergency 999 calls, which is a 6.1 per cent increase on 2013/14.

Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations at YAS, explained that the winter period last year saw “unprecedented levels of demand across the region” which affected response times.

He said: “We aim to reach all of our patients as quickly as possible and are committed to making improvements.

“We are currently carrying out a trust-wide review to look at the ever-increasing demands on our 999 service and staff, and explore ways of how we can work differently and more efficiently to support our emergency cover.”

Red 1 calls are the most time critical and include cardiac arrest patients who are not breathing and do not have a pulse, and other severe conditions. The clock starts as soon as the call is connected.

North East, North West, Yorkshire, East Midlands, East of England and London ambulance trusts all failed to meet the 75 per cent target for Red 1 calls, while they along with West Midlands, South East Coast, South Central and South Western all did so in the Red 2 category.

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