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'Abysmal': Patient in SEVEN-HOUR wait for ambulance in Shropshire

By Andrew Morris | Telford | Health | Published:

The longest wait a patient had for an ambulance in Shropshire last year was seven hours for a Telford resident, it has been revealed.

The patient, who was in the TF3 postcode in Telford, waited six hours, 59 minutes and 12 seconds for an ambulance to arrive because there were no available crews due to hospital delays.

The patient, a 49-year-old male, was classified as a category four patient – which is classed as non-urgent.

TF3 covers Telford Town Centre and Park, Hollinswood, Randlay, Stirchley, Brookside and Stafford Park.

Shropshire Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board received a report detailing the 10 lengthiest response times in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin in 2018/19.

Councillor Lee Chapman, chairman of the committee, said some of the response times in the county – including a 44-minute wait for a Category One – urgent – call in Ludlow were “abysmal”.

He said: “If the ambulance response times were published on Rightmove, nobody would ever move to Shropshire.

“The 44-minute category one call in Ludlow could, I assume, not have ended well. It is abysmal.”

Higher priority calls

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Another patient, a 59-year-old female in the Telford TF1 postcode and rated as category three, had to wait five hours, 38 minutes and six seconds, although no reason was recorded for the delay.

TF1 covers Wellington, Leegomery, Hadley, Ketley, Arleston and Hortonwood.

The longest wait in the Shropshire Council area was a category three “minor medical” incident involving a 61-year-old female in the SY12 postcode, which covers the area around Ellesmere, Cockshutt, Baschurch and Welshampton.

This was because multiple crews were called away to higher priority calls, the trust said.

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In the SY11 postcode for Oswestry, a 20-month-old boy, rated as category three, had to wait five hours, nine minutes and four seconds for a minor medical incident.

Councillor Dean Carroll said : “I am most concerned about the failure to meet response time in the SY11 and SY10 postcodes.

“This is Oswestry. This is an urban area. I wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with the service if times are being missed so readily in these busy, built-up areas.”

Ambulance service response:

Pippa Wall, head of strategic planning at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said the trust was “doing absolutely everything we can to boost response numbers” in the county.

She said: “I accept what has been said but we are doing our best with the resources we have in a rural county like Shropshire.

“We only have a certain number of vehicles in Shropshire and if one of those vehicles, even from a relatively urban area, is pulled away, it can be a long way away and take a long time to arrive back.

“There are not many trusts with as many vehicles as we have. We are always doing our best with the resources available to us.

“We find in Shropshire that people are less willing to call us – even when they do genuinely need us – compared to more urban areas.

“They feel guilty for calling us quite often, especially as it can lead to a long journey to hospital.”

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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