Thank you for contacting me about ambulance response times.
I recognise that ambulance services are strained. The Government is working flat-out to reduce ambulance waiting times and took strong action to prepare the NHS for this winter. NHS England has allocated an additional £150 million to address ambulance service pressures in 2022/23 and support improvements to response times through call handler recruitment and retention.
The Department for Health’s policy paper ‘Our Plan for Patients’ outlined the aim of increasing the number of call handlers in NHS 111 and in 999. This will help with the answering of 111 calls and dispatch of ambulances for those in greatest need following a call to 999.
The Government is focused on delivering shorter response times for Category 1 and 2 incidents, enabled by quicker handover of patients so ambulances can get back on the road and respond to 999 calls.
This objective is being backed by a plan to train and deploy more paramedics, and Health Education England has been mandated to train 3,000 paramedic graduates nationally each year, which is double the number of graduates accepted in 2016.
Furthermore, the Government has agreed a £30 million auxiliary contract with St John Ambulance to provide surge capacity of at least 5,000 hours per month to help bring down ambulance response times.
Action is also being taken to reduce the time it takes for ambulance handovers once patients reach hospital. Waiting times for transferring ambulance patients to A&E will be reduced as facilities are upgraded and the NHS increases capacity by at least 7,000 general and acute beds.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.