SOUTH Western Ambulance Service has been rated as one of the best in the country according to new NHS figures. The service had the best performance rating in the country of 78.3 per cent for arriving on scene at life threatening incidents within eight min

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service has been rated as one of the best in the country according to new NHS figures.

The service had the best performance rating in the country of 78.3 per cent for arriving on scene at life threatening incidents within eight minutes. The national target is 75 per cent.

The figures from the NHS Information Centre showed a response time inside 19 minutes for 96.5 per cent of cases.

During 2009-2010 the trust, which covers Devon, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Dorset and Somerset, received 435,500 emergency calls, reflecting a national trend of ever increasing call outs.

Ambulance calls are split between Category A or life threatening, with B listed as serious and C as not immediately serious or life threatening. South Western Ambulance Service also achieved a 95.8 result for arriving at category B calls within 19 minutes.

Trust chief executive Ken Wenman was delighted with the outcome of the report and said;

"I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of our staff whose dedication means that we are one of the best ambulance services in the country.

"Our patients are at the heart of everything we do and the figures published show more and more people are being reached and treated more quickly and safely than ever before.

"All ambulance services around the country are facing an annual increase in calls, which admittedly is challenging.