Cotswold District Council gave unanimous backing to a Lib Dem motion calling on the South Western Ambulance Service Trust to dramatically improve ambulance response times in the Cotswolds.
The motion also called requested that the creation of a County Ambulance Service was explored.
The motion comes after County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson recently presented a similar motion to Gloucestershire County Council, which also received majority support at Shire Hall.
Ambulances aim to reach ‘Red1 incidents’ - immediately life-threatening conditions - within eight minutes, 75 per cent of the time, but this was achieved in only 38.46 per cent of cases in the Cotswolds in September, compared to 53.3 per cent of cases in the same month last year. Red2 incidents - severe but not life-threatening - were also the worst out of all 16 sections.
Nigel Robbins (The Beeches Ward) who proposed the motion was delighted that the result, commenting he said:
“I’m very pleased that Cotswold District Council have followed the County Council’s lead in supporting a major review of the ambulance service. Paramedics all over Gloucestershire do an excellent job but are being let down by senior management.
“The Cotswolds has the worst response times in all 16 sections of the North Region of the service, from April to September ambulances took on average 15 minutes to reach incidents in the area, compared to 12 minutes in Stroud, eight minutes in Gloucester and under eight minutes in Cheltenham.
This just isn’t good enough and something needs to change, I hope this motion is the start of positive action to get the service back on track.”
Cllr Juliet Layton (South Cerney Ward) who seconded the motion said:
“We have heard that the figures of the ambulance service are getting worse.
“Recently an elderly lady waited two hours after dislocating her shoulder. Another time, the same woman needed an ambulance again and had to wait 45 minutes. When the car turned up the responder realised she needed an ambulance so she had to wait another 35 minutes; then two turned up.
“I’m pleased that Gloucestershire County Council are to explore the creation of a County Ambulance Service, maybe it’s time to bring the ambulance service home.”
The following motion was agreed by Cotswold District Council:
Council notes that Gloucestershire County Council recently agreed the following motion:
This Council notes that on Wednesday 28 May 2014, a motion concerning ambulance response times was brought to this chamber and received unanimous cross-party support.
This Council is still increasingly concerned about the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) continued failure to meet their 75% target in responding to the most urgent calls within 8 minutes.
This Council acknowledges that the issue of ambulance performance is being monitored by both the Council’s Health and Care Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) and the South Western Ambulance Service Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, but wants to see once again significant improvement in the response times in those districts that are failing to reach the 75% target.
This Council therefore asks both the Leader and the Chief Executive to write to the CEO of SWASFT noting the letter written back in May 2014 and asking for specific actions which will take place so that response times are significantly improved especially in the following four districts - Forest of Dean, the Cotswolds, Tewkesbury and Stroud.
This Council also requests that the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee explores the option of creating a county-wide ambulance service rather than a regional one, with recommendations produced for full Council to debate.
Council further notes the unanimous cross party support the motion received.
Council resolves to fully support the exploration of creating County Ambulance Service and requests that once recommendations are made by the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee they are bought before this Council for discussion.
Council further instructs the Chief Executive, Leader of Council and Leader of the opposition to jointly write to the CEO of SWASFT outlining the Council's cross party concern at their poor performance on response times across the Cotswolds and asking for specific action points to how they plan to improve the situation.