Potential heart-attack and stroke victims in Waverley borough are waiting more than 30 minutes on average for an ambulance to arrive – ten minutes longer than in 2019.
This compares to the 23min 38sec it took the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to answer the same ‘category two’ calls just three years earlier in 2019.
The figures show the NHS target of 18 minutes for category two ambulance calls, which covers urgent incidents like strokes and potential heart attacks, is being badly missed by all areas in Surrey.
But the worst-performing area in the county is Waverley, where the average response time has increased by 42 per cent for category two calls since 2019.
The data also reveals the average response time for category one calls, which are the most urgent and life-threatening, was also up compared to 2019 figures.
The average wait time for a these calls in Waverley was 11min 6sec, compared to 9min 54sec three years earlier, an increase of 12 per cent. This is measured against the national response target of seven minutes.
The data was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats, who are calling for urgent action to tackle local ambulance delays.
Paul Follows, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for South West Surrey, which covers Waverley, said: “It is shocking to see the service in Waverley lags behind other parts of the county, but also that wait times across Surrey far exceed the national target.
“The Liberal Democrats have provided a clear plan to tackle these unacceptable delays and make sure ambulances reach people on time in an emergency.
“That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social-care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”
Will Forster, leader of Surrey Lib Dems, said: “Behind these figures are devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families in Surrey watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.
“Paramedics on the front line do an incredible job day in and day out, looking after people in their time of need. But our overstretched local NHS services are collapsing under the strain of years of neglect under this Conservative government.”
A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) spokesperson conceded there remains “a lot to do” to improve response times. But they stressed SECAmb across its region remains ahead of the national average for the two highest categories of 999 call.
The SECAmb spokesperson said: “As we continue to face high demand, we know some patients are waiting longer than they should for a response. We are very sorry and we are doing everything we can to reach those who need assistance as quickly as possible, while prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
“We would like to thank our staff and volunteers for their hard work and commitment and we continue to work closely with hospitals across our region to minimise handover delays to ensure we are as best placed as possible to attend patients in the community requiring an ambulance response.
“The public can help us manage demand by calling 999 only in an emergency. We also urge everyone to make use of alternatives for help and advice including visiting NHS 111 Online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.”