HC Deb 16 February 1994 vol 237 cc864-5W
Mrs. Bridget Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the response times by the London ambulance service to 999 calls for each of the last five years; and what were the target times in each of those years.

Mr. Sackville

The target response time for emergency calls in each year was 95 per cent. responded to within 14 minutes. The percentage of calls responded to in the target time is shown in the table.

Year Percentage of ambulances responding within 14 minutes
1988–89 82.8
1989–90 78.8
1990–91 73.7
1991–92 64.0
1992–93 58.5

The London ambulance service's performance against the patients charter standard of a 95 per cent. response within 14 minutes has been unacceptable. In December 1993 the Government announced £14.8 million additional investment for the London ambulance service in 1994–95. The additional funding will be used to replace 40 per cent. of the vehicle fleet; recruit and train 240 additional ambulance personnel; accelerate the paramedic training programme and improve their communications systems.

In response to this investment, the London ambulance service has agreed with its managing agency, South West Thames regional health authority, interim targets of achieving an 80 per cent. response rate within 14 minutes by September 1994 and 85 per cent. by April 1995. When these targets have been met, the Government will expect the London ambulance service to establish an early date for the full achievement of the patients charter standard.