Opposition Day — [1st Allotted Day]
Stephen O'Brien (Shadow Minister, Health; Eddisbury, Conservative)
My hon. Friend is to be congratulated on the tremendous vigour with which he has fought the campaign to get some sense into the restoration of a good community first responders service, not only in his own constituency, since fighting the by-election there, but in the neighbouring area, which includes my constituency, and the more rural areas of Audlem and Buerton. I hope that he agrees that there would be no need for community first responders if the performance of the North West Ambulance Service were at least up to target, either in the more urban environments in his own constituency, or in the remoter rural parts of mine. The service's targets have been missed by a large margin, and, with the restraint put on the community first responders, we now face a major challenge in getting our constituents to Leighton hospital so that their needs can be met. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his efforts, but I wonder whether he agrees that the community first responders are effectively filling a major gap that has arisen due to the inadequacy of the North West Ambulance Service? The service has repeatedly been challenged on this matter, and we have reached the point at which we demand answers.