Heart attack and stroke victims waiting over an hour for an ambulance in Powys

Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.

In Powys, potential heart attack and stroke victims wait an average of one hour and 14 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
In Powys, potential heart attack and stroke victims wait an average of one hour and 14 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

In Powys, potential heart attack and stroke victims are left waiting an average of one hour and 14 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than in urban ones.

In Powys, patients waited for an average of 11 minutes and 37 seconds for red calls compared to six minutes 31 seconds in Newport.

Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.

The party has said both Labour and the Conservatives are failing to get to grips with the crisis.

Healthcare is devolved in Wales meaning it is under the control of the Welsh Government, however many Powys residents attend A&E in Shropshire and Herefordshire over the border.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said: “These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.

“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims is particularly concerning.

“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.

“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour and UK Conservative governments 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.”

Adding his comments, Brecon and Radnorshire Liberal Democrat Candidate David Chadwick said: “We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most. People in rural areas still pay their taxes, there shouldn’t just be an assumption that services will always be worst in rural areas.

“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.

“We need both our Labour Senedd Members; and Conservatives; who are responsible for healthcare in hospitals our residents use across the border in Shropshire and Herefordshire, to urgently tackle this crisis."

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