EXTRA help is being sought from community medics after it was revealed emergency ambulance response targets had only been reached 35 per cent of the time in West Craven.

Blue-light ambulances are expected to reach casualties within eight minutes at least 75 per cent of the time, according to national guidelines.

But in the BB18 postcode area, covering Barnoldswick and Earby, the response rate was just 35.85 per cent for last November.

And while the figure for October was 55 per cent and it rose to 58.82 per cent, the performance has led to continuing concerns in West Craven.

Ian Walmsley, the acting head of service for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) for the Lancashire and Cumbria area, has written to the West Craven area committee outlining remedial measures. He has told councillors that he has been liaising with the community resuscitation team manager with proposals now emerging to strengthen the community first responders (CFR) team in the area.

The CFR team is a voluntary service, staffed by trained locals, who can help to stabilise a casualty until a fast-response vehicle or ambulance with paramedics arrives on the scene.

Coun David Whipp said: “We are very concerned that people in the West Craven area are not getting the service which they should be. We have been in discussion with the ambulance service and we are keen to see improvements in a number of aspects.

“We do believe that the community first responders, who provide a quite strong service already in Barnoldswick and Earby, need bolstering.”

Last year NWAS agreed proposals to close the Brogden View ambulance station in Barnoldswick and share premises with the police in Wellhouse Road.