999 calls are meant to be reached in 18 minutes on average.
NHS bosses blamed rising demand and delays handing over patients at A&E. Despite increased staffing to try and meet demand, the rise in delays faced by crews queuing outside hospitals is causing problems.
Some of the longest waits for the ‘category 2’ – the second most serious level of calls - including those having fits as well as heart attack, stroke and burns victims, exceeded five hours.
The publications called for better rural ambulance cover as one Shropshire heart attack victim waited more than two hours for paramedics to arrive.
One Shropshire councillor said: ‘It is worrying that response times for cities and larger towns are quicker than in smaller towns like Oswestry. In the countryside it is worse.’ East Midlands Ambulance Service had the greatest number of long delays - one in eight calls took over an hour.
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