MP asked to raise response time concerns in parliament

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Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee will ask Andrew Stephenson MP to raise the issue of ambulance response times for the BB18 area in parliament.

Councillors remain unhappy that the Barnoldswick area appears to be getting a worse service than the rest of East Lancashire, according to statistics published by the North West Ambulance Service Trust (NWAS).

In May, 16.7% of the six emergency calls (one) for Barnoldswick was reached within the eight minute target time.

That figure was 33.3% of three calls in April, 100% of two calls in June and 22.2% of nine calls in July.

For East Lancashire, 68% of 153 emergency calls in April were reached within eight minutes, 66.4% of 140 calls in May, 80.3% of 132 calls in June and 71.2% of 153 calls in July.

In June a motion backed by the whole of Pendle Council called for a meeting between councillors, Pendle Council bosses and the NWAS.

Coun. Whipp told committee members that meeting had taken place and was a “helpful” one.

He said there was an NWAS aim to increase the number of community first responders in the area, deliver a community pathway project, and to introduce Barnoldswick into a programme for community defibrillators.

Coun. Whipp said the area would not be provided with any more ambulances other than one which has been added to Nelson at weekends.

But Coun. Whipp added that ambulances work in a “dynamic way” and additional resources may not benefit West Craven anyway as ambulances tend to cluster around areas with large numbers of incidents and naturally gravitate to the areas where populations are more concentrated.

But with regards to the figures, Coun. Whipp said the West Craven area was “woefully behind”. He said: “We are not a rural backwater. We have employers with thousands of employees and attract a considerable number of people to come and work here.

“The residential population is 20% of Pendle. We are not a sparsely populated Trough of Bowland scenario.”

Coun. Ken Hartley described May’s figure as “abysmal”. He said: “I’m still extremely disappointed with that kind of response.

“I follow the logic and I can see their argument but believe you me there’s a big gap between 17% and 80%. We should not let this drop and keep complaining long and hard until something is done about it.”

Coun. Chris Tennant said the idea of first responders was a “very effective” way of working but added anybody in the role would need properly supporting.

He said: “It’s quite a lonely, scary place as a first responder when you’re first through the door. They need backing up. Two minutes can be a long time in those situations.”