Ambulance response times below target in Aberdeenshire

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Ambulance crews in Aberdeenshire are failing to hit response targets for life threatening emergencies in the area.

The current target is to have 75% of Category A incidents - those classed as immediately life-threatening - responded to within eight minutes.

However latest figures reveal that for the past three years this target has not been met and in many cases Ambulance crews are now further from the target than last year.

Only 54% of Category A incidents were being responded to within eight minutes in Banchory for the year 2015/16, down from 66% the previous year.

Ellon had a 1% drop to 52% while Fraserburgh and Peterhead dropped to 65% and 61% respectively, down from 69% and 63%.

Inverurie figures showed a 9% decrease to 59% from 68% the year before.

Stonehaven also fell short of the 75% target with numbers showing an eight minute response time to for Category A incidents at 72% - though this figure had risen from 70% in 2014/15.

Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said: “These response time figures are clearly very worrying, with an unacceptably poor performance in rural areas covered by stations in Aberdeenshire.

“There are always a number of factors that can explain drops in performance, but it seems that the service in this area is seriously over-stretched and under-resourced.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said:“Ambulance teams in Grampian are busier than ever as emergency demand continues to increase.

“The Service is addressing this by investing in an additional 32 new frontline staff for deployment in the region this year.

“The investment is fundamental to delivering the most appropriate care to every patient, whether at home or in the hospital and is the first phase of a 5 year programme that will create 1,000 new paramedics in Scotland, many of whom will be deployed in Grampian, to enhance the clinical skills mix of our staff and introduce new ways of working to best meet the needs of patients.

“Since 2015 the Service has also invested around £2.5 million in ambulance station upgrades and improvements in the North East.”