PATIENTS living in parts of suburban Sheffield have to wait nearly twice as long for an emergency ambulance as those in the city centre, The Star reveals today - as service bosses say calls have rocketed.
An emergency in the S1 postcode has, on average, a paramedic on the scene in 6.56 minutes according to the figures – but a severely-ill patient in Dore has to wait nearly 14 minutes, while people in Beighton or Mosborough wait nearly 13.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which runs South Yorkshire’s fleet of 120 ambulances, consistently hits the Government’s target for emergency responses - but bosses say they are being put under pressure by soaring numbers of emergency call-outs, 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.”
Today, as part of the The Star’s Your Right to Know campaign, we reveal the huge variety in response times across our area – leading to charges we are living in a ‘postcode lottery’.
And online we publish the response times for every single postcode in South Yorkshire over the last four years.
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.
In Sheffield, the rate is even better, at 79.1 per cent – beating the Government’s 75 per cent target.
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.
“Response times are not the only measure of the service we provide . We are also proud of the high-quality clinical care given by our staff.”
The figures are for all emergencies – including calls which fall outside the most serious ‘life-threatening’ category.
Civil servant John Longstaff, 62, said the results for his home in Mosborough, which has the third slowest response time in South Yorkshire, were troubling.
He said: “This is a real postcode lottery. Those extra minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
“It’s uncomfortable thinking where you live makes such a difference.”