A new report from the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) showed between July and September this year patients facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses had to wait an average of eight minutes and eight seconds for aid.
This is longer than the national average of seven minutes, and up from the the average wait of six minutes and nine seconds in July-September last year in Fareham and Gosport.
It comes as health bosses warn the NHS is set to face its most ‘challenging’ winter yet.
Some patients in Fareham and Gosport were left for more than 15 minutes in life-threatening situations, while in Portsmouth the average wait calls was six minutes and 58 seconds.
And for category two calls – which are classed as emergency calls and include burns, epilepsy and strokes – patients in Fareham and Gosport waited an average of 32 minutes and 50 seconds.
This is much higher than the national average of 18 minutes and the average for the area in 2020 of 17 minutes and 23 seconds.
The latest data comes after a Gosport pensioner, 83, was last month left waiting more than three hours as up to 30 ambulances queue at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
A spokesman for SCAS told The News ambulance response times across south east Hampshire have increased this year compared to last year for a ‘number of reasons’.
He said: ‘Principally, this is due to the increase in demand for our emergency services combined with a significant rise in handover delays at the QA Hospital. When ambulance crews are not able to handover patients promptly this then impacts our ability to respond within the national response time targets set for all ambulance services.’
When asked if there was need for concern he said: ‘Yes. The response time targets set for SCAS are national measures set for all ambulance services and every trust wants to be able to meet its targets.
‘Due to increasing demand and increasing handover delays at hospitals that are affecting all ambulance trusts across the country, some patients are unfortunately having to wait longer to receive an ambulance service response.’
Tracy Redman, head of operations for south east Hampshire at SCAS, added: ‘All the indications are that this will be the most challenging winter the NHS has ever faced. SCAS and its partners will be doing everything to maintain the safest and most responsive service to the people of south east Hampshire, however we would urge people to continue to only use our 999 service and go to A&E for the most serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
‘NHS 111 can be accessed by phone and online, and provides an alternative way to get help 24/7 when you need urgent, but not emergency care. It’s important that our local community use this to get help at the right place for their health needs and by doing so, they will be helping us to ensure more of our specialist staff are available for people with serious or life-threatening emergencies.’
It comes as The News reported how SCAS declared a critical incident in the last weekend of October this year after being overwhelmed by calls.
QA Hospital has been contacted for comment.