Save Our Hospitals is a resident-led campaign group formed in July 2012. We are FIGHTING against the NHS plans to DEMOLISH Charing Cross Hospital and downgrading of our A&Es( Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Ealing and Central Middlesex Hospitals)
Sunday, 28 December 2014
NHS England reveals critical patients waiting too long for ambulances to arrive
The disclosure comes after Jeremy Hunt approved secret plans to increase the response time for cases considered lower risk
Missing targets: NHS hasn't met it since MAY
Thousands of critically ill patients are having to wait more than eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive, new figures reveal.
Ambulances are supposed to respond to Red 1 cases - the most severe category including incidents where people have stopped breathing or there is no pulse - within the time limit.
But NHS England figures show that more than 3,800 patients last month waited more than eight minutes for paramedics to arrive.
And it could be increased to 19 minutes in some cases if ambulance chiefs give the go-ahead.
According to NHS England, the ambulance only responded to 72.2% of Red 1 cases within the eight minute target in October this year - with 3,860 patients having to wait more than 8 minutes.
And the service hasn’t met the target since May.
Patients waiting more than 8 minutes
October (17.8% of total)
In September this year, the ambulance missed the target for 3,221 cases, in August 3,384 cases, in July 3,874 cases, in June 3,423 and in May 3,434 cases.
The official NHS website says of stroke victims: “The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.”
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP said the figures raised “real concerns” that lives are being put at risk.
“For people who’ve suffered cardiac arrest or a stroke, every second counts and that is why this cannot continue.
“People will struggle to understand how, in the middle of this crisis, it makes sense for the Government to make a panic decision to relax 999 standards and leave patients waiting even longer.
"Jeremy Hunt has refused to answer the serious questions put to him since the weekend,” he said.
The controversial plan to relax target times is outlined in a memo drawn up by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).
It says NHS England has agreed “in principle” to relax the maximum wait for Red 2 incidents.
The plan “received approval” from the Health Secretary, the memo states, and is subject to approval by ambulance trust bosses.
Under the proposal, a “small number” of patients will be moved to the Red 1 category alongside heart attack victims and patients with heavy bleeding - cases where a short extra wait “could have a potentially serious detrimental impact”.
Just under half of patients will keep the eight minutes target, while four in 10 will be moved to a 19-minute response target, the memo says.
Mr Burnham added: “David Cameron’s failure to face up to the A&E crisis is having a serious knock-on effect on ambulance services.
"Ministers are leaving large swathes of the country without adequate ambulance cover - people who have faced an anxious wait for an ambulance will be stunned by their complacency.
“More and more calls are being attended by police cars and even fire engines on David Cameron’s watch.
“Urgent action is needed from the Government to turn things around. Slower 999 response is yet another sign of an NHS heading in the wrong direction.”