AMBULANCE managers were told they had to come up with a solution for getting to more rural patients in time across the whole south central region.

A recent report highlighted South Central Ambulance was failing to get to enough patients within eight minutes in the rural areas of West Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire, and Vale of White Horse.

Oxfordshire’s joint health overview and scrutiny committee demanded the paramedic service told it how it would solve the problem within its current budget. But after hearing options that would require more money, chairman, Dr Peter Skolar, said the ambulance service had to hold a meeting with all the affected counties because it was not just Oxfordshire where it was failing.

He added: “This is a regional problem, not just an Oxfordshire problem.

“We want a meeting to review the services across the whole of the area.”

South Central covers Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and Berkshire.

The ambulance service was only failing to hits its targets in rural areas, the committee was told.

The national target is getting to 75 per cent of patients within eight minutes. Oxford City had an 87.2 per cent performance rate, Cherwell 78.4 per cent, Vale of White Horse 67.2 per cent, South Oxfordshire 55.8 per cent, West Oxfordshire 51.1 per cent.

This week, the ambulance service presented three options. The first included adding more than £50m additional resources, including 93 rapid response vehicles and nine ambulances, which would require more than 800 additional operational staff. Options two and three would include a mix of providing extra rapid response vehicles and additional staff according to the district, at a cost of between £7.5m and £8.63m.

But Dr Skolar said the ambulance service had missed the point because the committee had requested solutions within its current budget.