999 ‘red’ call response failures show performance in Leeds areas is still lacking

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Ambulance service chiefs have conceded that its response to serious ‘red’ 999 calls in areas of Leeds is still not good enough.

Speaking of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (YAS) failure to reach national targets in its response to ‘red’ calls, bosses talked of unprecedented demand on its services in December.

National guidelines say paramedics should be attending 75 per cent of the most serious ‘red’ emergency call-outs within eight minutes but in Leeds north it only reached 55 per cent on time last month.

The discussion came at a Leeds City Council health scrutiny board meeting today.

Paul Mudd, director of operations for West Yorkshire at YAS, said: “Performance in Leeds north isn’t where we want it to be and neither is Leeds west.”

He said red response levels in those areas of are still below targets. Figures for December showed on-time response in Leeds west was 56 per cent and regionally was 60.61 per cent.

Coun Debra Coupar, scrutiny board chair, also cited “several examples” of YAS missing targets by a significant amount. She asked: “Are these one-offs or is it the tip of the iceberg?”

Stating that YAS is “providing a safe service”, medical director Dr Julian Mark added: “The whole system is under pressure and there is a knock-on effect.”

YAS deputy chief executive Ian Brandwood said it is having to meet demand while having 50 vacancies for paramedics amid a UK shortage. He added that Care Quality Commission inspectors have also yet to report any areas of concern.