Ambulances serving High Peak are taking over two minutes longer on average to reach patients in a life-threatening condition, compared to three years ago.
The East Midlands Ambulance Service has seen the second biggest rise of any English Ambulance Trust to answer the most serious callouts. Critical patients – including those hit by strokes and cardiac arrests - are waiting an average of 2.3 minutes longer for treatment than in 2011.
The British Heart Foundation and the Stoke Association have warned that the delays put lives at risk.
Official NHS figure show that Category A ambulance callouts - where a life is threatened - are taking 67 seconds longer on average across the UK to reach patients, compared to May 2011, when they should arrive within eight minutes. In May 2011, the median time to treatment for a Category A call in the East Midlands was 348 seconds; figures for May 2014 indicate the average wait for Category A calls had risen to 489 seconds, rising each year from 2011.
The situation in High Peak is particularly compounded by the distances the critically ill have to travel to A&E; patients are taken to Stockport, Sheffield, Tameside or Chesterfield hospitals meaning it’s all the more vital calls are responded to as quickly as possible.
Commenting on the figures, Caitlin Bisknell, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for High Peak, said:
“These figures raise real concerns that lives are being put at risk by the chaos in the NHS.
“Hospital A&E departments have missed the Government’s waiting time target for the last 51 weeks running. This crisis in A&E has trapped ambulances in queues outside hospitals - leaving the next caller facing longer, agonising waits. More and more calls are being attended by police cars and even fire engines on David Cameron’s watch.
“For people who've suffered cardiac arrest or a stroke, every second counts and that is why this slump in standards cannot continue.
"Urgent action is needed from the Government to turn things around. Slower 999 response is yet another sign of an NHS heading in the wrong direction under this Government. Their failure to get a grip on the A&E crisis is now having a knock-on effect of the safety of our ambulance services. It is more proof that David Cameron simply can't be trusted with the NHS.”