Ambulance response times worry
AMBULANCE response targets in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend have only been hit a third of the time on average in the past 20 months, new figures show.
The target is for ambulances to reach 65 per cent of emergencies within eight minutes.
But out of the three areas only Swansea hit the target in more months than it failed to.
Findings released by Plaid Cymru show that in Neath Port Talbot the target was only hit during five out of 20 months, a quarter of the time, while Bridgend fared worse as it only achieved the target during four months out of 20.
The figures have worsened since the middle of last year, with Swansea only achieving the target in two months since September, 2012.
Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend have only managed to hit the target in months since August of last year with both achieving it in June this year.
Health services across Wales are currently under review as part of the South Wales Programme.
Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, said: "I am sure that there are plenty of people living in the ABMU area who will find these figures very worrying — particularly when put together with ongoing issues at one of our most important hospitals, and future changes to services that are currently under consideration.
"It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this adds up to a health service struggling to deliver — creaking under the weight of demand."
An ABMU Health Board spokesman added: "We have a number of innovative schemes in place with our ambulance colleagues to try and reduce the pressure on the emergency departments by providing patients with more appropriate forms of care. We will be building on these over the next few months."
A Welsh Government spokeswoman added: "The McClelland Review of Welsh Ambulance Services made it very clear that our current eight minute target is only very weakly supported by clinical evidence. Work is underway to develop a new set of clinical indicators that provide a better view of the quality of ambulance provision in Wales, and these will be in place by April 2014.
"We are encouraged to note, though, that latest figures for the ABM UHB area show 71.2 per cent of ambulances arrived within 10 minutes and 75.2 per cent in 11 minutes."