PEOPLE in Ludlow have had to wait nearly 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive for the most serious incidents - over four times the target. 

Figures seen by the Advertiser show that for three consecutive months from February to May, ambulance response times for category one calls have all been over 24 minutes, with April's figures being 25 minutes 25 seconds. 

A category one incident is classed as being "an immediate response to a life threatening condition", such as cardiac or respiratory arrest. 

The target for all ambulance trusts is to respond to such an incident is seven minutes, well below the times that West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) vehicles have arrived in Ludlow and the surrounding areas. 

Councillor Darren Childs, who represents Gallows Bank Ward, said: "Despite some improvements, unofrtunately WMAS are still not hitting the target of response times within seven minutes for category one emergences, it's currently still taking them almost 30 minutes.

"By this time, someone having a stroke or heart attack is less likely to survive. People in South Shropshire are dying waiting for ambulances and that is not acceptable as our lives are worth just as much as anyone else in the country." 

Overall, 90 per cent of category one calls were responded in just over 35 minutes in May, with category two and category three responses being just over an hour and a half and five hours respectively. 

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “There has been a significant improvement in hospital handover delays since the turn of the year which has resulted in much better ambulance response times.  

"However, the hospital handover delays are still up to three times worse than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which means some patients continue to wait a very long time for ambulances to arrive, for which we apologise.

"There is a direct correlation between the length of time ambulances wait to handover patients at hospital and the length of time it takes to get to patients, with rural areas more affected than urban ones.

“We continue to work with our partners to find new ways to reduce the delays even further, so that our crews can respond more quickly and save more lives.”