Nearly half of England’s ambulance trusts are failing to meet national targets on the time it takes to respond to life threatening emergencies, according to a recent report.

The NHS Information Centre report says that five out of the 12 NHS ambulance trusts failed to meet the target of reaching 75 per cent of the most serious incidents within eight minutes in 2008-09.

The report also shows that only a third met targets to arrive at the scene of 95 per cent of serious, but not immediately life-threatening, incidents within 19 minutes.

Of the 7.48 million emergency and urgent calls received by ambulance control rooms in 2008-09, 6.15 million calls resulted in an emergency response arriving at the incident, up by 4.4 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Figures show that in 74.3 per cent of cases ambulance services reached life threatening, or category A, incidents within eight minutes.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “More calls were received than last year, emergency response vehicles attended more incidents than last year, and ambulance crews took more emergency and urgent patients to hospital than in any other year in the past decade.”

Although the figures show that some trusts are not meeting targets, Heather Strawbridge, chair of the Ambulance Service Network, said that England’s ambulance trusts had made “huge improvements” in the past year.