Audlem ambulance case featured on TV debate

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The Audlem incident involving a 70 minute wait for an ambulance following a 999 call was used as the case study in a TV discussion last night on the Granada TV programme Party People. While the ambulance service, the NWAS, claim they arrived in 59 minutes, the poor service to rural areas was strongly criticised in the programme by local MP Stephen O'Brien.

Audlem resident Dave Siddorns described how he had to wait so long and his wife was unable to get an estimated time of arrival of the ambulance after he had suffered a serious illness attack. The programme repeatedly pointed out that Dave could have been driven to the hospital in 20 minutes if his wife had been told how long the ambulance would take. Regular readers will recall that an ambulance eventually arrived and the crew said they had driven from Widnes, some 45 miles away. The NWAS later claimed it had come from Northwich.

In this week's Nantwich Guardian, Stephen O'Brien continues to put pressure on the NWAS saying that ambulance response times are still not good enough. He said that figures uncovered using the Freedom of Information Act show a massive variation across the different regions. The response times in the Central and East Cheshire Primary Care Trust are the eighth worst in the country.

He added: "It is extremely disappointing that despite the promises given by the NWAS at our public meeting in Audlem last year — and more recently following the concerns I raised about the ageing fleet of ambulances — that their response times are not being met and they are failing to deliver the standard of service people in Eddisbury and rural Cheshire would be able reasonably to expect.

In their response, the NWAS say they have improved with the 55% on target response in 2006 rising to 64% in the year to date. They add: "Agreement has just been reached with Audlem Parish Council to begin training eight volunteers to form a new Community Responder group. The group should be operational by the end of March."

Audlem Online understands the real figure is twelve volunteers.


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