Pendle MP Gordon Prentice has called for urgent action over ambulance performance figures released by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

In a recent meeting with the chief executive of NHS East Lancashire, Steve Spoerry, the MP raised concerns over the performance of NWAS, particularly in the Pendle area.

Mr Prentice said: “NHS guidelines set out that 75 per cent of category A callouts – those for serious and life- threatening conditions – should have a response time of eight minutes. But in October last year, the figure for Burnley, Hyndburn, Rossendale, Ribble Valley and Pendle was just 70 per cent. NWAS also missed the performance target in East Lancashire for less serious category B cases, which have a 19-minute response time.”

Statistics from the NWAS showed poor response times for Barnoldswick’s BB18 postcodes.

Mr Prentice said: “The figures highlighted a significantly weak service in the Barnoldswick area, with only 60 per cent of ambulances meeting the eight-minute target to reach their destination.

“In the period April 2009 to November 2009, the percentage of ambulances hitting the eight-minute target plunged to 53 per cent in May, 51 per cent in June and 39 per cent in October.”

Dave Kitchin, head of service for NWAS, said: “The ambulance service is commissioned to meet the Government target of 75 per cent for category A life-threatening calls (which require an eight-minute response) for the region as a whole and not by postcode, primary care trust, county or borough.

“Across Pendle we achieved 82.81 per cent, well above the Government target. This was also the case for our category A 19-minute target. We achieved 98.39 per cent, against a target of 95 per cent.”

The ambulance service also met the category B 19-minute target for Pendle as a region, achieving 95.1 per cent – 0.1 per cent above the target.

Mr Kitchin said: “There are many factors which could contribute to a lower response rate in individual areas, ranging from remoteness, rise in activity, weather conditions and even increased congestion.

“We are working closely with East Lancashire Hospital Trust to determine how to further improve services in the area and are considering a number of initiatives.”