AMBULANCE response times improved slightly in Gwent during the month of April, although only just over half of life-threatening emergency callouts managed to reach patients within eight minutes.

New figures from the Welsh Government showed 50.6 per cent of category A immediately life-threatening calls reached patients within the target time of eight minutes within the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area.

This is an improvement on March, when figures showed a 49.9 per cent target rate of responses reached the scene within eight minutes, and a two per cent improvement on February which saw 47.9 per cent reach the target.

Gwent has consistently low numbers when it comes to hitting the eight-minute target time.

The newest figures show Torfaen is the second worst at hitting the target in Wales, with just 209 out of 470 category A calls, or 45.7 per cent arriving within eight minutes. The worst response times were in the Rhonnda Cynon Taf, at 43.9 per cent.

These were followed by third worst Monmouthshire with 46.3 per cent, and Blaenau Gwent at 47.4 per cent. Caerphilly achieved the marginally higher 49.4 and Newport had the best response rate in Gwent at 58.3 per cent.

William Graham, Conservative AM for South Wales East, said there was still a need to improve the figures. He said: “The ambulance response times for April indicate that the target of responding to 65 per cent of category A emergency calls to immediately life threatening incidents within eight minutes has yet to be achieved during 2014 within our region.

“Again the people of South East Wales are subjected to longer waiting times before an ambulance or paramedic is on scene to begin to assess and administer emergency treatment."

“The Welsh Government has indicated that it intends to change the system used to measure our ambulance services. I hope this leads to an improvement in services and that it is not a way of disguising continued service failure."

“These figures do not reflect the dedication and professionalism of our ambulance crews, paramedics and A&E staff.”