YORKSHIRE Ambulance Trust has been ranked the worst in the country for its ability to reach life-threatening incidents within eight minutes.
In the February 2010 performance report compiled by NHS Kirklees, it is acknowledged that the service will not achieve the annual “Category A” target.
Yorkshire Ambulance Trust (YAS) has therefore been given a “red light” by NHS Kirklees for the period up to December 31, 2009.
The report reads: “At January 17 year to date performance for YAS was 70.5%. This is the worst performance in the country, but 9 out of 11 ambulance trusts are currently below the 75% target.”
YAS also gained the warning red light for its ability to respond to 95% of less serious “Category B” calls within 19 minutes.
Under the heading “current concerns”, the report pinned the significant drop in performance in December on snow, which created staffing shortages and led to increased road journeys.
The conditions, which were felt across the entire country, carried on into January and the trust accepts that month’s performance will also be seriously affected.
The report highlights “significant variation” in performance across different areas of Kirklees.
For the year to December, performance was best in Huddersfield North and worst in Denby Dale and Kirkburton localities, where just over 31% of category A calls were responded to in under eight minutes.
A spokesman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “Providing high quality clinical care to patients remains our priority and we would like to reassure the public that we are working hard to make further improvements to our response times.
“Like everyone in Kirklees and across Yorkshire, we have found this winter challenging. The adverse weather has affected the length of time it has taken for our staff to reach patients, particularly when travelling on untreated icy roads.
“Year on year YAS continues to reach patients quicker than before and in the current year (2009-10) the trust is reaching 75% of patients in Yorkshire with life-threatening illnesses or injuries within eight minutes and 42 seconds.
“Every second counts when someone is seriously ill or injured and we continue to work closely with the Strategic Health Authority and our healthcare partners to make further improvements to our service across Yorkshire.
“Response times are not the only measurement of our service and the clinical care being provided by YAS has received an ‘excellent’ score as part of the Care Quality Commission’s annual performance assessment for 2008-09.”