AMBULANCES in the West Midlands are getting to more than three quarters of emergency calls in less than eight minutes, new figures have shown.

A report issued by the Health and Social Care Information Centre this week showed West Midlands Ambulance Service responded to 80 per cent of ‘red one’ calls – the most serious or life-threatening incidents such as heart attacks or when the patient is not breathing – within the eight minute target in 2013-14.

The figures also showed the service responded to 73.6 per cent of ‘red two’ calls – slightly less serious but still emergency incidents such as strokes and fits – within the target.

Out of the 11 ambulance services in England, those in the East Midlands, the East of England and the South West failed to achieve the target of getting to at least three quarters of emergency calls within eight minutes.

Across the entire country the average response rate to red one calls within eight minutes was 75.6 per cent

An NHS England spokesman said: "These figures show that NHS ambulance services continued to perform well overall, but in some areas there is work to be done to make sure people get a consistent, high-quality service no matter where they live.

"It is important to stress that the majority of patients are treated quickly and effectively despite demands on ambulance services over the last year.

"But it is quite clear that ambulance trusts are under pressure and we will need to address this when allocating the extra money recently announced to help the NHS meet the high standards that patients are entitled to expect."