AMBULANCE bosses say a national report shows the service is now the top-performing in the country – despite extra pressure from increasing 999 calls.

The report by the NHS Information Centre, published yesterday, shows details about response times by England’s 12 ambulance services, which are improving despite a tougher workload.

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust was the only trust in the country to achieve all four of the national performance targets which centre on quick response times to 999 calls.

For example the trust responded to 76.8 per cent of the most serious 999 calls within eight minutes, above the 75 per cent target.

These “category A” calls include serious road accidents, strokes and cardiac arrests.

Chris Kowalik, a communications officer for the trust, said: “The performance was achieved despite it being our busiest year on record with nearly 864,000 calls in 2010/11, some of the most difficult weather conditions ever experienced and the busiest day on record (December 17 in which the trust provided 3,941 responses).”

A report by the National Audit Office published earlier this month showed response times were among the worst in the country for the West Midlands ambulance service but trust bosses said the figures were for 2009/10 and therefore did not reflect dramatic improvements in the service.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Our annual report shows that ambulance trusts in England are dealing with more emergency calls each year; with the latest annual total topping eight million.

“Despite the increased workload, trusts are moving closer to achieving the target for being on the scene of the most serious incidents within eight minutes.

It is also interesting to note the fairly big rise in the number of call-outs where the patient is treated at the scene only and not taken to hospital.

“As only two years’ data is available at present, more annual information is needed to see if a trend for this emerges.”