Ambulance response targets on Anglesey fall short due to “significant” demand increase
Ambulance crews on Anglesey have fallen short of response targets due to increased demand on their services, councillors have been told.
Members of Anglesey Council’s Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee heard that for the first time since a new clinical response model was introduced in October 2015, the response to red category calls on the island has fallen short of the 65% target.
Ambulance crews are expected to attend at least 65% of the most urgent, or ‘red’ category calls within eight minutes.
However, blamed on a “significant increase” on demand, a report presented to committee members noted that of 8,755 incidents recorded on Anglesey so far during 2019/20, the service responded to 6,842 patients with 4,319 or 59.4% of those conveyed to hospital.
But while 393 had been categorised as ‘red’, only 59.9% had been responded to within eight minutes, rising to 66.8% within nine minutes and 69.4% within 10 minutes.
Jonathan Sweet, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Operations Manager for North West Wales, told members in Llangefnion Tuesday that measures had already been taken to address the issue, which was said to be more of a factor in rural than urban areas.
Increased pressures at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was also said to have diverted resources away from Anglesey and Gwynedd to address greater demands in Conwy and Denbighshire.
“The constraints on our performance, in particular in terms to extended delays to handover at hospital, have significantly worsened this year and had a material impact on hitting performance targets,” Mr Sweet said.
“Such delays have also had a significant effect on the availability of ambulance resource across Ynys Mon as the greater proportion of lost hours at hospital have been at Glan Clwyd, this impacts on Anglesey resourcing by drawing
Anglesey resources away from the north west into the central area of north Wales.
“Conwy and Denbighshire, being higher demand areas, draw resources away from the lower demand areas of Gwynedd and north Wales particularly.”
While the island specific results encompass the period between April and December 2019, fell short of the region wide picture, the latest nationwide figures show an improvement and that of the 2,537 red calls made across Wales, 512 were made in north Wales with 68% attended to within eight minutes.
Mr Sweet added: “The majority of demand is focused on the populated areas (on Anglesey) but we do have pockets of demand in the remoter areas.
“With red demand typically averaging 1.4 incidents a day, it’s fair to say that patients in the populated areas usually receive a response within eight minutes and it’s the more remote activity that’s harder to plan for, predict and reach due to the lower volume.
“Its been a challenging year across the health system in Wales, which regrettably means we haven’t always been able to deliver the quality and timeliness of emergency response that we want and the public should expect.
“We continue to work with our health board colleagues and other partners to tackle the system wide issues facing the NHS in Wales by embracing the opportunities to deliver large-scale, transformational change quickly and focusing our work on referral pathways for a number of conditions.”
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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