Sunday, February 04, 2007

Call for an Inquiry into Ambulance Response Times in Montgomeryshire

Today I am calling on the Powys Local Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust to launch a joint inquiry into the ambulance response time of 50 minutes to a fatal accident near Llanwddyn, Lake Vyrnwy, on 18 January.

I know it was an awful night and the ambulance crew certainly did everything they could but 50 minutes to respond to an emergency call does seem unreasonably long. I wrote to the Welsh Ambulance Service in May 2006 warning them that removing the 24-hour staffing from Llanfyllin and requiring its ambulance to provide cover for other stations in Montgomeryshire would leave a large area of the county without adequate provision. Maybe for 360 days a year a routine service is acceptable but, sadly, sometimes an emergency response is required and it has taken this tragic accident to highlight the deficiencies.

I have consistently argued that the north-west corner of Montgomeryshire, characterised as it is by narrow roads and the tourist hotspots of Lake Vyrnwy and Pistyll Rhaeadr , deserve to be served by an ambulance which is stationed permanently in Llanfyllin and which is staffed 24 hours a day.

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