North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has urged Health Secretary Steve Barclay to visit Shropshire and witness the area’s “calamitous” health crisis for himself.
The Lib Dem MP has called on the Health Secretary to visit the county and meet its fantastic paramedics, doctors, nurses and carers in the hope that seeing the problems for himself will force the minister into long-overdue action.
Helen has repeatedly called on the Government to take action and form a national strategy to reduce ambulance delays, free up hospital beds and increase the number of available appointments.
However the Conservatives have consistently failed to act and ambulance handover delays in the region are at their worst-ever levels.
In a letter to the Health Secretary, Helen Morgan MP said: “People are dying waiting for ambulances on a regular basis. Here in Shropshire it has become the norm for suspected heart attack patients to have to wait more than 60 minutes for an ambulance. It often takes hours. This is not the fault of the ambulance service – it is the fault of your Government and its consistent failure to act.
“Paramedics are being forced to spend entire shifts stuck at hospitals waiting to handover patients instead of responding to emergencies. People cannot get a GP appointment so they turn up to A&E departments which are already full. There are not enough hospital beds because care homes have no room to take medically-fit patients. Staff across the system are overworked, exhausted and increasingly deciding to change their careers. And so the pressure gets worse and the cycle continues.”
It comes as suspected stroke and heart attack patients in Shropshire are now being warned that it may take several hours for ambulances to reach them.
West Midlands Ambulance Service expected around 48,000 of ambulance hours to be lost due to handover delays at hospitals in July – the highest-ever monthly level despite July normally being one of the quietest months.
Helen continued: “It is clear that only a national strategy to boost staffing and free up beds and ambulances can have the necessary impact.
“The need for action has been blatant since before my election last December… Yet your department has still neglected to create – let alone implement – a strategy.
“The absence of action is particularly worrying given that demand for ambulances is no higher than normal; we are in the summer and therefore in a time of comparatively low pressure and still the system is on the verge of collapse. If the current trend of increasing emergency waiting times continues then the winter will be a terrifying time to fall ill.”