Ambulance delays: Heart attack victims in West Leicestershire waiting over 50 minutes for help

19 Dec 2022

Potential heart attack and stroke victims in West Leicestershire waiting an average of 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, shocking new figures have revealed.

The data was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats, who are calling for urgent action to tackle local ambulance delays.

Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

The figures show that the NHS target of 1 8 minutes for Category 2 ambulance calls, which covers urgent incidents like strokes and potential heart attacks, is being badly missed in West Leicestershire

Ambulance delays have also significantly worsened in recent years, with the average response time increasing by over 40% for Category 2 calls since 2019.

The average response time for Category 1 calls, which are the most urgent and life-threatening, was 9 minutes up 9% since 2019.

Leicestershire Liberal Democrat County Councillor Michael Mullaney is backing the Liberal Democrat's five point plan to support local ambulance services, which would see a paramedic recruitment campaign and improvements in social care to reduce pressures on hospital beds.

Councillor Michael Mullaney said:

"Behind these figures are devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families in Leicestershire watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.

"Paramedics on the frontline do an incredible job day in day out, looking after people in their time of need. But our overstretched local NHS services are collapsing under the strain of years of neglect under this Conservative government.

"The Liberal Democrats have provided a clear plan to tackle these shocking delays and make sure ambulances reach people on time in an emergency. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours."

Ambulance Crisis - Liberal Democrat 5 Point Winter Plan

*Launch a campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance service staff. Like all health and care services, it needs to be properly staffed.

*Bring forward a fully funded programme to get people who are medically well enough discharged from hospital and set up with appropriate social care and support. This will allow people to leave hospital sooner and make more space available for new arrivals.The Government's current attempt at this through the Adult Social Care Discharge Fund is not good enough, as the funds will come from existing NHS budgets putting even more pressure on other services. It will also not be deployed in full until January next year.

*In addition to getting people out of hospital so that they get care in a more comfortable setting, the number of beds in hospitals needs to be increased to end excessive handover delays for ambulances, caused by a lack of bed capacity. Any new beds must come with increases in staff to care for those extra patients.

*Expand mental health support services to get people the appropriate care they need and reduce the number of call outs for ambulances for mental health reasons. Learning from hospitals that have set up 'emergency mental health departments', will not only to get people more appropriate care but relieve pressure on A&Es and ambulances.

*Pass Daisy Cooper MP's Ambulance Waiting Times Bill into law that would require accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published. This would ensure that 'hot spots' with some of the longest waiting times can be identified routinely. 12 hour waits at A&E should also be published from arrival at hospital rather than the 'decision to admit' as is current practice, so that the true scale of the problem is clear for all to see.

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