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South West Ambulance Service missed its emergency call-out response targets in October, a report has revealed.
The service achieved the eight-minute response time for 71.68% of the most urgent calls, compared with a target of 75%, a report to the board stated.
These so-called red 1 calls include cardiac arrest or life-threatening traumatic injuries.
The ambulance trust said it was under “severe pressure” and blamed increasing demand for its services.
The report showed that on red 1 calls the trust’s performance was also below the national average of 75.16%.
It also missed its 75% target for red 2 calls – for patients with serious breathing difficulties or a suspected stroke.
A trust spokesperson said: “Like all ambulance trusts around the country, the service is facing an ongoing increase in demand for its services meaning more calls to respond to and increasing numbers of patients requiring care.
“An additional challenge for the south west region is that it is predominantly rural, with many isolated communities.
“This area of the country also has the highest percentage of elderly people who are more likely to access our services, especially in the run up to and during winter.”
They added: “The trust would like to make an assurance that the provision of high quality emergency and urgent care services remains our top priority.”
South Western Ambulance Service covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire as well as Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.