Ambulance response times for the most urgent callouts in Bucks have been praised after an investigation found the figures fall below the national average for rural areas.
A national investigation carried out by the BBC revealed this morning (March 6) that critically injured patients living in rural areas could be at risk, as it takes longer for paramedic teams to get to them.
However, ambulance response times for the most urgent callouts – such as heart attacks – in Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe are below the national average for rural areas , according to the figures unearthed by the BBC.
The average ambulance response time for urgent calls in urban areas of Britain is 7 minutes 14 seconds, compared with 11 minutes and 13 seconds for rural parts of the country.
Based on figures from January to October last year, postcode area HP14 (High Wycombe) has the slowest average response time in the Wycombe district of 9m 46s.
HP11 (Wycombe Marsh) has the fastest average response time in the Wycombe district of 5 minutes 2 seconds.
Chesham postcode HP5 has the slowest response time for the Chiltern district, and exceeded the national average, with 13 minutes and 57 seconds, while HP10 (Great Missenden) has the fastest response time of 10 minutes.
Slough postcode SL1 (which includes Burnham) has the fastest response time in the South Bucks district of 6 minutes and 7 seconds, while SL9 (Gerrards Cross) has the slowest response time of 9 minutes and 43 seconds.
However, director of operations at South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust, Mark Ainsworth, has pointed out that the trust “is not measured against national response time targets on individual postcode areas”.
SCAS is measured on its response times at two levels – one covering the whole of the Thames Valley, while the other covers Hampshire alone.
Mr Ainsworth added that SCAS’ average response time to the most serious calls (category one) was 6 minutes 56 seconds for the last financial year.
SCAS is one of four ambulance trusts meeting the national target to reach category one patients in under seven minutes.
Mr Ainsworth said: “SCAS has invested in training and equipping military co-responders and fire service responders, as well as community first responders, to help deliver a high quality, responsive service to category one patients in rural areas that are further away from our ambulance stations, hospitals and standby points.
“Having access to such volunteers and co-responders means that early, life-saving treatment can commence on many patients whilst our ambulance is en route.
“Since April 2016, SCAS has had the highest survival rate of all English ambulance trusts for patients leaving hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest, the survival rate in the South Central region between April 2016-September 2018 is just under 14 per cent against an England average of just under nine per cent.
“According to the BBC FOI figures, the average response time in England in rural areas is 11 minutes 26 seconds– all but one of the 11 SCAS rural Buckinghamshire postcodes in the BBC FOI figures have an average response time below this.
“This suggests that despite the challenges of rural Buckinghamshire, patients still receive a good, high-quality service from SCAS compared to some patients living in similar areas in other parts of the country.”
Full breakdown of average ambulance response times in south Bucks by postcode area, as published by the BBC:
SL7 – 8m 47s
SL8 – 8m 38s
HP10 – 7m 26s
HP11 – 5m 2s
HP12 – 6m 6s
HP13 – 6m 38s
HP14 – 9m 46s
HP15 – 7m 8s
HP27 – 7m 58s
HP5 – 13m 57s
HP6 – 11m 17s
HP7 – 10m 24
HP8 – 10m 18s
HP16 – 10m
SL0 – 8m 16s
SL1 – 6m 7s
SL2 – 7m 41
SL3 – 8m 55s
SL9 – 9m 43s
HP9 – 8m 46s