Borough’s ‘postcode lottery’ of 999 ambulance responses


PATIENTS in rural Doncaster have to wait more than twice as long for an emergency ambulance compared to those living in more urban areas.

Health service bosses have released the latest reponse times for the borough as they said calls for help had rocketed.

An emergency in DN2, covering Intake, Wheatley, Wheatley Hills, Town Moor and Clay Lane, has a paramedic on the scene in 5 mins 28 seconds on average, according to the figures. However, a severely-ill patient in DN8, which is the Thorne area, has to wait nearly 12 minutes 26 seconds.

Those living in DN10, covering towns and villages including Bawtry, Misson, Misterton and Scrooby also wait on average more than 12 minutes.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which runs South Yorkshire’s fleet of 120 ambulances, consistently hits the Government’s target for emergency responses.

But it says it is being put under pressure by soaring numbers of emergency calls, with a 41 per cent rise in the county over the last three years.

Alan Baranowski, the trust’s South Yorkshire A&E director, said: “Despite the increase in the number of emergency calls, we are getting to the most seriously-ill and injured patients quicker than ever before and meeting national targets.”

So far in 2011/12 there has been 22,794 emergency call outs across Doncaster with an average response time of 8 minutes 47 seconds. This was compared to the 33,248 calls which were responded to in an average of eight minutes 23 seconds in the previous year.

About 76.7 per cent of the most serious, life-threatening cases in South Yorkshire have a paramedic, rapid response vehicle, community responder or ambulance at the scene within eight minutes.

Mr Baranowski said: “Our priority is to respond to emergency calls as quickly as possible and, in view of growing demand for our 999 service, we are constantly reviewing ambulance cover and standby locations.”

The figures are for all emergencies– including calls which fall outsidethe most serious ‘life-threatening’ category.