Scale of devastating ambulance waits across Wales revealed

Tuesday 21st June 2022 11:10 am
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(Alan Quick, Crediton Courier )

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Over 10,000 people with serious conditions are waiting over an hour for an ambulance in Wales.

In figures obtained by the Welsh Conservatives, it was found 3,351 people that rang an ambulance and were designated amber in April had to wait over four hours for it to arrive.

According to monthly Welsh Government statistics, a staggering two-thirds (67.1% or 10,157) of amber ambulances took over an hour to reach their patient, but it took a written question from the Leader of the Opposition to find out exactly how long people had to wait.

The information uncovered that 344 people waited over 12 hours. 14 waited over a day for an amber call to be reached, half of which were in North Wales.

Calls for ambulances are triaged into red, amber, and green calls. Red calls are life-threatening but serious conditions like strokes are classified as amber by the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.

Three red-calls also took over an hour to reach their patient in April, two in Dyfed and one in the Swansea Bay health board area.

Only 51% of responses to immediately life-threatening calls arrived within eight minutes, down from 61% in April 2021. The target of 65% of red-calls reaching their patient within eight minutes has not been reached in over 18 months.

It follows news of dozens of incidents when police cars had to be deployed as ambulances.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:

“It is scandalous how long people have to wait for ambulance in Wales, no matter how serious the emergency – if you’re in need of one, your problem needs urgent attention.

“I cannot imagine the anguish people feel as they or a loved one are left languishing in pain because Labour’s mismanagement of the NHS has turned ambulance provision into a postcode lottery.

“We know that ambulance delays are down to them getting stuck at A&E departments, full and slow-moving because of issues in accessing other parts of the NHS.

“That’s why Labour need a plan to ensure people come to hospital as a last resort, not because they have no confidence in or access to other parts of the health service.”

Andrew RT Davies MS, the Welsh Conservative leader who submitted the question, added:

“These waits are very concerning, more so because we had to dig them up because ministers do not routinely publish them.

“We know the pandemic has hit all aspects of the NHS hard, but we know that the NHS under Labour has been in dire straits for a long time and ambulance waits have been going downhill for a while.

“As I told the First Minister back in March, he has failed to plan for the end of Army assistance in the ambulance service and now patients and paramedics are paying the price.”

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