Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Ambulance trust 'making progress'

Trust managers are being questioned at a public meeting

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust says it is doing everything it can to improve response times after its performance was rated as "weak".

Last month the trust's quality of service was criticised for the third year running in the annual ratings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Vince Larvin, assistant director of operations, admitted its response times were "not good enough".

But he said progress had been made since the CQC's inspections.

Mr Larvin spoke to BBC News before a meeting of North Yorkshire's scrutiny of health committee.

Managers discussed the trust's performance at the public meeting in Ripon on Friday.

We agree that it's not good enough that we're 20 seconds short of the eight minute target but that gap is closing
Vince Larvin
Assistant director of operations

Ambulance trusts across Britain are asked to reach three quarters of life-threatening 999 calls within eight minutes.

Mr Larvin said: "I think our quality of service, which is the issue we are dealing with today, has been much more difficult to achieve because of the new tougher response times that were introduced last year.

"And just to put the performance times into perspective, we're about 20 seconds short across Yorkshire of the eight minute target.

"We agree that it's not good enough that we're 20 seconds short of the eight minute target but that gap is closing. We're doing everything within our remit to make sure that continues."

The trust's finance management score improved from "fair" to "good" in the CQC ratings.

It said recent improvements would be "clearly demonstrated" in its mid-year declaration to the CQC for 2009-10.

Councillor Gareth Dadd, who chaired Friday's meeting, said he wanted to hear how the trust was improving response times.

He said: "As elected members serving perhaps the most rural county in the UK, what we are interested in, in particular, is what sort of response times are they actually achieving in the more deeply rural parts of the county."

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