Revealed: Shropshire and Telford worst in the West Midlands for ambulance response times

Shropshire and Telford have the longest ambulance wait times in the West Midlands, new research has revealed.

Helen Morgan MP
Helen Morgan MP

Figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed a postcode lottery of ambulance wait times across the West Midlands, with patients in Shropshire waiting on average more than five minutes longer for life-saving help than those in Birmingham.

The research, uncovered by the Lib Dems through Freedom of Information requests, reveals how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural parts of the region as in urban ones.

Category two calls, including potential heart attack or stroke patients, in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are waiting for an average of 49 minutes for paramedics to arrive - more than half an hour over the target response time (18 minutes).

For the most serious calls, patients in the county waited for an average of 11 minutes and 31 seconds for category one responses, compared to six minutes and 20 seconds in the Black Country.

The national standard sets out that all ambulance trusts must respond to category one calls in seven minutes, and category two calls in 18 minutes on average.

Not one area in England achieved both of these targets.

The research revealed that Shropshire and Telford have the longest ambulance wait times in the West Midlands

MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan said the figures were 'heart-breaking' and is calling on the Government to roll out extra support to get the strained service through winter.

Ms Morgan said: “These heart-breaking figures show that all across the West Midlands and the country, targets are being missed and patients are being left waiting far too long for an ambulance to arrive.

“This stark postcode lottery means that if you suffer a heart attack or stroke, your chances of getting to hospital on time depend on where you happen to live. If you live in Birmingham or the surrounding area you will get help much faster than in Shropshire.

“Three years ago, an ambulance taking 50 minutes to reach a stroke patient would have been a national scandal. The failures of this Conservative Government mean it is now the norm.

“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them. Our overstretched local NHS services are collapsing under the strain of years of neglect under this Conservative Government.

“Ministers must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”

A spokesperson from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “The ambulance service relies on each part of the health and social care system working together so that our ambulances can get to patients in the community quickly.

"Sadly, the pressures we are seeing in health and social care lead to long hospital handover delays with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital rather than responding to the next call. The result is that our crews are delayed in reaching patients.

"We are working incredibly hard with all of our NHS and social care partners to prevent these delays, looking at new ways to safely hand over patients quickly so that our crews can respond more rapidly and save more lives."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News