North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has urged the new Health Secretary to rapidly take action to get the NHS through winter as new statistics reveal the crisis of emergency care in Shropshire.
Four patients waited more than 20 hours in the back of ambulances outside Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in September alone and the majority of patients are now waiting more than an hour to be handed over from paramedics to A&E staff in Shrewsbury.
Handover delays at Shropshire’s two major hospitals have got worse in recent months, with Shrewsbury and Telford the worst hospitals for ambulance handover delays in the whole of the West Midlands.
Meanwhile response times across the region remain far below their targets, with patients with broken bones waiting up to 22 hours for help to arrive.
One elderly and disabled woman in North Shropshire waited 10 hours with a fractured spine for an ambulance to arrive after falling this week.
Helen Morgan is calling for urgent action from the Government to get the NHS through winter, increase social care capacity, relieve the pressure on hospitals and free up space in A&E so that ambulances can be out on the road instead of stuck waiting at hospitals.
Helen Morgan, the Lib Dem MP for North Shropshire, said: “Handover delays are getting worse, not better, despite them being deemed to be at the highest possible risk level for more than a year. Meanwhile we’ve had Health Secretaries coming and going through a revolving door.
“Steve Barclay now needs to take urgent action to relieve the pressure on hospitals and ambulances by tackling social care and implementing an emergency plan ahead of the winter.
“Paramedics, doctors and nurses are taking a huge mental toll as they deal with delays which are not their fault, so it’s not surprising many of them are deciding to leave.
“The system is at breaking point and it is only autumn, so it is crucial the Government quickly provides a plan to get through winter as well as implementing long-term solutions to fix our broken NHS.
“As the Ministerial merry go round continues, people across North Shropshire are waiting in excruciating pain – first for an ambulance to arrive and then to be seen at hospital. I saw this first hand when I joined ambulance crews last month. It’s not fair on patients and it’s not fair on paramedics.”
Shropshire remains the worst place in the West Midlands to call for an ambulance, with the average response time for the most serious Category 1 call in Shropshire being 12 minutes 15. The target time is 7 minutes and in Birmingham the average response time is 7 minutes and 2 seconds.