40 patients in 10-hour ambulance wait to get into Shropshire hospitals

Forty patients waited for more than ten hours in the back of ambulances for treatment at the county's hospitals in one month, new figures have revealed.

Queuing ambulances
Queuing ambulances

Bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Service this week issued a stark warning over the state of the service, saying patients are "dying every day" because of avoidable causes.

Mark Docherty, the trust's nursing director has even predicted the service faces a 'Titanic moment' and could collapse in August.

The situation in Shropshire has been a major concern for more than six months – with significant delays in getting to patients, and then significant delays transferring them from ambulances to the county's major hospitals – the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal in Telford.

Only yesterday there were as many as ten ambulances lined up outside Royal Shrewsbury Hospital at around 6pm.

The situation is being seen in response times as well, with the average time it takes for an ambulance to respond to a life-threatening category 1 call in Shropshire being the longest in the region.

On average patients in the county wait 12 minutes four seconds for the response – almost double the average response time in Birmingham – six minutes 48 seconds, and the Black Country – six minutes 32 seconds.

The latest data show 40 patients waited for more than ten hours outside PRH and RSH in April, while 1,253 people waited more than an hour to be handed over to hospital staff.

In total 2,524 hours were lost by ambulances waiting outside Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals for more than 30 minutes – a 580 per cent increase on April last year when 370 hours were lost.

Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan, said there should be a Care Quality Commission inquiry into the difficulties facing the ambulance service.

She said: "People are continuing to die because of the huge length of time it takes ambulances to reach patients across Shropshire. It is a similar story across the UK but rural areas like ours are the worst affected.

“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.

“Only this week I have been contacted by a constituent who was warned they faced a six-hour wait despite their husband having suffered a suspected heart attack.

“There have been countless examples like this for more than a year now and yet the Government is still not reacting to the situation. Now the ambulance service’s most senior nurse is predicting the service will collapse in August.

“People are dying while ambulances are stuck waiting to hand over patients at hospitals.

“It’s not fair on the hard-working nurses, doctors and paramedics having to try and deal with this pressure and it’s not fair on people in rural areas who are forced to wait hours and hours wondering if an ambulance will ever arrive.”

Earlier this month it was confirmed that health bosses and MPs in the county would be holding a summit in an attempt to tackle the issues with the county's ambulance service.

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