Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has expressed alarm at the serious worsening of local ambulance response times in the latest monthly statistics.

The Welsh Government’s target is for 65% of the most serious ‘Category A’ calls to be responded to within 8 minutes. In Ceredigion, the figure has been around 60% for most of the past year. However, in March 2014 the proportion declined sharply to just 51.8% - the second-worst monthly performance since 2011.

The local Ceredigion AM warned about potential problems in the Ceredigion ambulance service in February this year, after a Freedom of Information request by Llanbadarn Sulien county councillor Paul James revealed under-staffing.

Elin Jones, AM for Ceredigion and Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister, said,

“These latest figures are a serious cause for concern. Our ambulance service locally is clearly over-stretched, and there’s a risk that people’s lives are being put in danger by poor response times.

“The statistics also show almost 20% of ambulances across Wales are taking longer than the expected 15 minutes to arrive at life threatening incidents, which is unacceptable. The recently-published Nuffield Report showed that Wales has the worst performing ambulance service of all the UK nations, with Scotland and England able to consistently ensure ambulances arrive within 8 minutes over 70% of the time while the Welsh service lags behind.

“This is despite the fact that the Scottish Ambulance service faces larger challenges than Wales in terms of weather and geographical distances. If Scotland can make significant improvements to their ambulance service, which was performing at the same level as Wales back in 2007, then Wales should be able to improve as well.”