AN AMBULANCE service has missed response targets for some of the most life-threatening 999 calls nine months in a row, it has been reported.
South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said calls had been missed due to a ‘diminishing pot of paramedics’.
All ambulances in the UK are supposed to respond to at least 75 per cent of Red 1 calls - when someone becomes unresponsive and has a life-threatening condition like a cardiac arrest - within eight minutes.
The same target is set for Red 2 calls - when a person has a potentially life-threatening condition such as a stroke.
But SCAS, which serves Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, has consistently missed both targets for the last nine months.
The service has said a 16 per cent increase in calls contributed to missing targets.
In January, the service received 173,563 calls on its 999 and 111 phone lines.
Director of operations Mark Ainsworth: ‘We have employed Polish and Australian paramedics for the UK.
‘We are looking to expand that international recruitment as the pool of UK paramedics is diminishing.’
Last month the service was accused of potentially compromising the safety of patients who rang the 111 service because calls were not answered quickly enough.
At the time, a spokesperson said: ‘We are continuing to recruit staff to the NHS 111 service across our area.’
Last month The News revealed firefighters in Southsea were forced to use their own fire engine to take a man to hospital after waiting two hours for an ambulance that never came.