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Hampshire Ambulance Service

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:46 am on 24th April 2001.

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Photo of Gisela Stuart Gisela Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 10:46 am, 24th April 2001

I certainly do, and I recently had discussions with trauma surgeons about the best way forward. However, for patients with cardiac arrest, there is no doubt that the quicker a paramedic arrives at the scene, the better. Even more to the point, we are investing heavily to provide defibrillators in public places--some 700, at a cost of £2 million--because the help that they provide does not require the presence of a paramedic.

I should like to resolve some of the confusion about the challenging national targets that we have set. Our expectation is that all ambulance services should respond to life-threatening emergency calls, which are generally known as category A calls, within eight minutes 75 per cent. of the time, irrespective of location. That target should be reached, whether the call is in the centre of London or in the most rural area. We must find ways to achieve it. I do not accept the argument that we cannot because there is a big difference between rural and urban areas. The solutions for meeting our expectations will be different in different areas.