‘Postcode lottery’ fears for ambulance patients in Bridgnorth
Health bosses are turning ambulance services into a 'postcode lottery', says one Bridgnorth councillor.
It comes as an investigation found that people in Bridgnorth wait on average 11 minutes and 27 seconds for serious and life-threatening injuries – compared to the national average of seven minutes and 41 seconds.
Councillor Julia Buckley, who represents East ward, said the long response times would come as no surprise to residents, who have felt the reduction in services across Shropshire in recent years.
"Waiting 11 minutes for an ambulance is too long when every minute reduces your chance of survival by 10 per cent," she said.
"Why are health bosses turning our health services into a postcode lottery that penalises rural areas?"
A West Midlands Ambulance Service newsletter from last week said that of 84 patients taken to the Princess Royal Hospital on one day, March 4, only 13 were handed over within 15 minutes while 16 patients waited over an hour.
Councillor Buckley added: "As a community we have been waiting for two years to hear the results of the Future Fit proposals to reduce A&E provision across Shropshire.
"Although 59 per cent of respondents voted against the plan to downgrade Telford's A&E, the Future Fit cuts seem to be made unstoppable by bureaucrats determined to save money in the NHS at the cost of human lives."
Councillor Buckley has previously campaigned to preserve maternity and other health services at Bridgnorth Community Hospital.
"While we are lucky in Bridgnorth to have excellent quality of care from health professionals, including the community first responders who saved my own dad's life recently, this cannot be a substitute for adequate transport to reach urgent and acute hospital care," she added.
"It is ridiculous to imagine an area four times the size of Greater London could manage with one A&E department.
"This will cause longer journey times and now compounded by the ambulance service becoming so overwhelmed that patients in our rural town are having to wait more than 11 minutes before an ambulance even reaches their home.
"Unfortunately saving money in health services costs lives. Why should the lives of Bridgnorth residents be put at more risk than residents of other towns?"