Fix an ambulance crisis

We need to fix what has become an ambulance crisis says Bath’s MP as figures reveal worsening waiting times

It would seem that 15.59% of patients in Bath waited longer than 4 hours in A&E before being seen in February, according to a new analysis of NHS England figures by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures also show that people in the South West waited an average of 1 hour and 25 minutes (01:25:25) for serious incidents like strokes and heart attacks in February. Scandalously, one in 10 people waited over 3 hours (03:20:06) for an ambulance to arrive.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a clear plan to support local ambulance services, including emergency funding to reverse the closure of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed. The party is also calling for localised figures on ambulance waiting times to be published to help local communities hold the Government to account. The proposals were backed at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference this weekend.

Nationally, the data shows that 7,672 ambulance arrivals in the latest week were delayed by more than an hour before handing over their patients due to pressures in A&E. That’s almost one in 10 ambulance arrivals.

Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse commented:

“These shocking figures show that too many people are being left stranded waiting for an ambulance to arrive, waiting in pain and distress for the medical care they need.

“Ambulance services in Bath and the South West are being stretched to breaking point. People are being let down by a Conservative Government that is sitting on its hands whilst lives are put at risk due to their incompetence. In Bath last year, a constituent was left waiting for an ambulance for 7 hours. This is unacceptable and I’m glad that the Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of tackling this crisis. 

“After years of driving the NHS into the ground, the Conservatives need to act to fix this crisis.

“The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear and credible plan to support our A&Es, ambulance services and the chronic staffing shortages that are leaving patients at risk.”

To solve the ambulance crisis, the Liberal Democrats are calling for: 

  • Emergency funding to be made available to ambulance trusts to reverse closures of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed.
  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid to commission the CQC to conduct an investigation into the causes and impacts of ambulance service delays.
  • An Ambulance Waiting Times Bill to be passed into law requiring accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published. 
  • A campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance staff.

The NHS target for Category 2 is 18 minutes. and at least 9 out of 10 times (90th percentile) within 40 minutes.

NHS England A&E Release: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/03/Statistical-commentary-February-2022-jf8.pdf

Ambulance Analysis – NHS Confederation: https://www.nhsconfed.org/articles/analysis-march-release-nhs-performance-statistics  

A&E Source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ 

Ambulance Source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ambulance-quality-indicators/ambulance-quality-indicators-data-2021-22/