Colchester Liberal Democrats have today called on the Government to bring in the army to help drive ambulances in the area, as the latest figures reveal 94 patients were stuck for more than an hour in ambulances outside the local A&E in the last week alone.
New official figures published today reveal that ambulance response times to emergency 999 calls are exceeding government pledges in the East of England Ambulance Trust. In November, the average response time for Category 2 calls (emergency calls involving a serious condition that may require rapid assessment and/or urgent transport, such as a stroke or chest pain) was 51:48 – more than triple the 18-minute target.
Meanwhile, 270 patients in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust spent more than 30 minutes waiting to be handed over from an ambulance to A&E last week 94 of them were waiting for more than an hour.
The findings come a month after the Liberal Democrats secured confirmation from the Government that the East of England Ambulance Trust is now at REAP Level 4 – the highest alert level, indicating “extreme pressure” – along with all other ambulance trusts in England. Both the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the College of Paramedics have warned that delays are causing patients harm and putting them at risk.
In response to today’s alarming figures, the Liberal Democrats have set out an emergency five point plan to tackle the growing crisis of ambulance delays that is leaving seriously ill patients in Colchester waiting hours to be treated. In addition to calling in support from the armed forces, the plan includes reversing ambulance station closures, launching an official inquiry, passing a new law to increase transparency over waiting times, and launching a new campaign to recruit more paramedics and other ambulance staff in Colchester
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Martin Goss for Colchester, said:
“People in Colchester are watching loved ones in agony and distress, waiting hours for an ambulance or stuck in the back of one outside our local hospital. Some have even watched them die. This is heartbreaking and it cannot go on.
“The Conservatives have run our NHS services in Colchester into the ground, breaking waiting time promises for years and years.
“Our plan would relieve some of the immediate pressure and help fix the ambulance crisis for good, so that the people of Colchester know that they can get to hospital in an ambulance and receive the care they deserve when they need to.”
Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said:
“Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have neglected health services for years, and patients in Colchester are now suffering as a result.
“The Prime Minister must stop sticking his head in the sand, get a grip of this crisis, and do whatever it takes to stop communities facing record waiting times.”