North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan is calling for a full CQC inquiry into ambulance delays in Shropshire, as the ambulance service’s director of nursing warned that the system will collapse by August.
Forty patients were forced to wait more than 10 hours in ambulances outside hospitals in Shropshire in one month as handover delays reached their worst ever level – leading to a top nurse warning of imminent collapse.
The 40 patients with waits of 10 hours or longer were among 1,253 people who were stuck in ambulances for more than an hour in Shrewsbury and Telford in April, new figures from West Midlands Ambulance Service show.
In total 2,524 ambulance hours were wasted waiting outside the two hospitals instead of being out treating patients in Shropshire.
Meanwhile, people in life-threatening conditions in Shropshire faced nearly double the wait of people in Birmingham and the Black Country, with response times varying massively by postcode.
Helen Morgan MP said: “These statistics show how people living in rural areas like Shropshire are those worst affected by the terrible delays to ambulances across the country.
“My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have been calling for the CQC to launch a full inquiry into the causes of this crisis and for the Government to wake up and take action since the autumn.
“April was the worst month in the history of West Midlands Ambulance Service for handover delays despite it being spring and not one of the busier months on the health service.
“If major steps aren’t taken the winter is going to be even more bleak. That is if the service survives the summer, with the ambulance service’s most senior nurse predicting a ‘Titanic’ collapse in August.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service Director Mark Docherty warned that patients are dying every day due to ambulance delays and said the service faces a “Titanic moment” in the coming months.
He questioned why NHS England and the Care Quality Commission were “not all over” the issue of handover delays and said that by August 17 one third of WMAS’s resource will be lost to delays meaning that the service is unable to respond.
A report to the West Midlands Ambulance Service board this week showed that more than 17,795 hours were lost across the region in April due to waits of 30 minutes or longer outside hospitals, which is the highest number of lost hours in the service’s history.
Patient handover delays continue to cause significant harm and death and are leading to an increasing number of serious incidents each month, according to the report.
Helen is requesting an Urgent Question in Parliament asking for the Care Quality Commission to investigate the huge ambulance delays leading to avoidable deaths in Shropshire and across the UK.