Monday, 25 February 2008

Ambulance 'postcode lottery' anger

The Tories have accused the Government of "utter incompetence" after the release of figures they claim show a postcode lottery in the time ambulances take to reach emergencies.

Shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said that figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the number of ambulances reaching serious emergencies within eight minutes ranges from 51.98% in Mid Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) to 93.44% in Blackpool PCT.

Under a Government target, 75% of serious emergencies - known as Category A incidents - should be reached within eight minutes.

Mr O'Brien said: "It is a damning indictment of Labour's treatment of our NHS that ambulance provision varies so widely across the country. Alan Johnson has clearly not got a grip on the NHS.

"We know that they have presided over a growing disparity in the provision of drugs and healthcare, but the utter incompetence which gives rise to such patchy emergency care is unforgivable - especially as around this incompetence hangs a nasty whiff of favouring Labour held constituencies."