CHANGES to shift patterns will likely be welcomed by paramedics. It is easy to take for granted the great work done by these lifesavers, often toward the end of a gruelling 12-hour stint.

Cutting shifts back to between eight and ten hours will hopefully result in the workers being fresher, even if their total hours will remain the same each week.

But chopping and changing shifts still ignores the elephant in the room.

It is unclear how these changes will do anything to address the response times crisis South Coast Ambulance Service is currently experiencing.

With recent figures showing them getting worse instead of better in many areas of the county, this should be its main priority.

Between April 1 and May 15, only 52 per cent of the time did an ambulance reach a patient within eight minutes in West and South Oxfordshire, against a target of 75 per cent. Only in Oxford was the time above target, at 92 per cent.

Installing defibrillators in rural areas can only go so far, and the public are likely to be far more reassured when a trained paramedic arrives in an ambulance.

Of course it is important ambulance workers are not frazzled and thus more prone to making possibly life-threatening mistakes.

But it is more important to ensure that the ambulance arrives on time in the first place?

Radical thinking is needed to solve this ongoing problem.