Reverse ambulance station closures to stop deadly delays

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to provide funding to reverse ambulance station closures, as the latest figures reveal 8,000 patients were stuck for more than an hour in ambulances outside A&E in the last week alone.

Daisy Cooper, the party’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson, has today also written to the chair of the Care and Quality Commission, urging him to launch an investigation into the causes and impacts of deadly ambulance delays, including station closures.

These calls form part of an emergency five-point plan to tackle the growing crisis of ambulance delays that is leaving seriously ill patients waiting hours to be treated. In addition to reversing ambulance station closures and launching an investigation, the plan includes bringing in the army to help drive ambulances, passing a new law to increase transparency over waiting times, and launching a new campaign to recruit more paramedics and other ambulance staff.

New official figures published today reveal that ambulance response times to emergency 999 calls are exceeding government pledges in every part of England. 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 46 minutes and 37 seconds – more than double the 18-minute target.

Meanwhile, 19,366 patients spent more than 30 minutes waiting to be handed over from an ambulance to A&E last week – 8,211 of them were waiting for more than an hour.

Last month, the Liberal Democrats secured confirmation from the Government that every ambulance service in England is now at REAP Level 4 – the highest alert level, indicating “extreme pressure”. 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.

Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said: “Thousands of people are watching loved ones in agony and distress, waiting hours for an ambulance or stuck in the back of one outside a hospital. Some have even watched them die. This is heartbreaking and it can not go on.

Daisy Cooper MP

“The Conservatives have run local NHS services into the ground, breaking waiting time promises for years and years.

“Boris Johnson must stop sticking his head in the sand. He must get a grip on this crisis and reverse ambulance station closures that have left communities facing record waiting times.

“Our plan would relieve some of the immediate pressure and help fix the ambulance crisis for good so that people know that they can get to hospital in an ambulance and receive the care they deserve, when they need to.”

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