Health bosses will pump £700,000 worth of extra resources into Gloucestershire to combat “truly dreadful” ambulance response times in rural areas.
Statistics published in April showed people in life threatening situations in some rural areas have to wait twice as long for help compared to people in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Pressure has been mounting on the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the blue light service in Gloucestershire, to take action and remedy the problem.
And the Trust has now announced it will do just that, outlining major investment plans which will see two new 24-hour frontline ambulances working in the county.
A spokesman said: “A great deal of work has already been undertaken to improve response times in rural areas. The Trust is pleased to announce an additional £700,000 of resources for Gloucestershire to improve performance. This will include an additional 24-hour frontline ambulance for both Stroud and Staverton as well as an additional 12-hour rapid response vehicle for Staverton and another 120 defibrillators across the county.”
The extra resources are part of a wider investment programme which will see the trust spend almost £4million to improve services in the north of the South West region.
The announcement came on the same day Gloucestershire County Council voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling on the authority’s leader and chief executive to write to the Trust demanding action.
Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton and Northleach), who proposed the motion, described the extra resources as “very good news”. He said: “I am delighted that this has happened as a result of our pressure but I want to see how it will impact on the Cotswolds.”
During the debate at Shire Hall yesterday Mr Hodgkinson described the current response times in rural areas of the county as “truly dreadful”.
Mark Hawthorne, the Conservative leader of the county council, said: “Extra ambulances in the county is good news – I hope this shows that the Trust is committed to sorting out the serious problems in parts of Gloucestershire.”
Labour group leader Lesley Williams echoed a similar sentiment.
“I welcome the news of this new investment,” she said.
“Ambulance response times in Gloucestershire are not good enough and they need to improve.”
What Gloucestershire is getting:
£700,000 of new resources in the county.
Two new 24-hour frontline ambulances, one in Stroud and one in Staverton.
An additional 12-hour rapid response vehicle, also based in Staverton.
120 new defibrillators across the county.