East Lothian ambulances miss target times

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Ambulances in East Lothian are struggling to respond to the most serious incidents they are called out to within the target time of eight minutes.

Latest figures reveal that in September last year ambulances in East Lothian managed to respond to only 46.43% of Category A incidents within the eight minute target time.

From April to September 2015, the average Cat A response time was just under 50%, down from 58.6% during the same months the previous year.

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) categorises all incidents as Category A, B or C, with target response times of 8, 19 and 60 minutes respectively.

“Every time our call takers receive a 999 call, they question the caller in detail about the nature of the emergency to ensure we respond quickly in the most appropriate way. Using sophisticated world-class software, call takers categorise calls into three types,” says the Scottish Ambulance Service website.

Category A are classed as life threatening and are always prioritised; Category B, are serious but not life threatening; and Category C may not require an emergency ambulance crew.

After obtaining the figures through a Freedom of Information Request, East Lothian candidate for the Scottish Conservatives, Rachael Hamilton, described them as “very concerning” adding: “In a more rural area like East Lothian, it is always going to be challenging to get ambulances to remote incidents within the target time. But these figures show that there is a lot of room for improvement and residents will be rightly concerned by them.

“We need to look closely at whether the SAS is being properly resourced in East Lothian and whether there is a need to look at using faster vehicles and more bases as a way to cut down response times.”