Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 11:43 UK

Ambulances beat 999 calls target

Ambulances aim to arrive at emergencies within eight minutes

Ambulance crews across Scotland have beaten an emergency response target for the first time, it has been announced.

The Scottish Ambulance Service had been asked to reach three quarters of life-threatening 999 calls within eight minutes.

In March this year 77% of category A calls made in mainland Scotland were reached within that target time.

The figures were up 16% compared with the same month two years ago when 61% of calls were met in eight minutes.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the milestone, but said the level of performance needed to be maintained.

She said: "I want to congratulate all the Scottish Ambulance Service staff who have worked so hard to reach this target. It is a great achievement of which they can be very proud.

"Of course, this progress must be maintained and improved further so that patients across the whole of Scotland get the consistently high level of service they deserve."

Increasing fleet

Pauline Howie, acting chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: "Our crews are reaching more people quicker than ever before and the organisation has made significant overall progress in the last year."

Last month the Scottish Government announced £25m worth of funding to be spend on new ambulance vehicles.

The investment will take the size of the fleet to 1,410 by 2012.

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