PERFORMANCE: Berkshire primary care trusts have requested extra funding from the South Central strategic health authority to improve ambulance handover performance.

Ambulance handover times were below target in December in both east and west Berkshire.

In the east, 68 per cent of all category A ambulance responses arrived within eight minutes, against a target of 75 per cent. In the west, the figure was 69 per cent.

Both sides of the county were off target for category B responses, 95 per cent of which are supposed to be accomplished within 19 minutes.

Cluster board papers said: “Berkshire East has struggled with both of these indicators due to ambulance handover delays at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital, thereby depleting the number of resources available to respond to calls.”

Acute hospitals also had “capacity issues” due to Norovirus. Delays had improved at Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust.

“Additional winter pressure funding has been requested via the strategic health authority for additional support to South Central Ambulance Service and this support will be in the form of additional crews, [and] clinical support at emergency operations centre.”