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Health chiefs dispute claims Cumbria’s ambulance service has lowest vehicles per person in UK – NW Evening Mail

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STATISTICS showing Cumbria’s ambulance service as having the lowest vehicle capacity in the UK have been refuted by health chiefs.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has the fewest amount of vehicles per capita, with just 5.12 vehicles per 100,000 people.

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The data also revealed that between August 2017 and July 2018, there was only one emergency vehicle available for every 4,097 calls.

But a spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “The information supplied to the media by the FOI requester refers to the number of emergency double crewed ambulances only without taking into account other vehicles including rapid response vehicles which also respond to 999 calls.

“A substantial proportion of 999 calls we receive do not require an emergency response and are processed over the phone through hear and treat. Therefore, we don’t believe the like for like comparison is accurate.”

He added: “Since July 2017, we have made a number of improvements to the way that we run our service including investing in additional ambulances and improvements in technology to develop the way that we despatch resources to our patients.

“We have also placed a higher focus on treating patients within the community wherever possible.

Barrow had the slowest response time within the north west district at seven minutes 46 seconds for an ambulance to arrive for a category one emergency.

NWAS Paramedic Unison convener, Mike Oliver, said: “When the figures were released we approached the trust, however, they told us it was inaccurate.

“We are accepting for the moment that the statistics haven’t taken into account duplicate calls which may affect figures.

“If they are correct, it is deeply worrying for the north west. We’ll be constantly reviewing the data so we can have confidence that what the NWAS is saying is accurate.”

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