Shropshire MP spends a shift with paramedics to see for herself the problems in the health service
North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has spent 12 hours on the front line with paramedics in Shropshire to witness the impact of ambulance delays first hand.
The Lib Dem MP praised the “top-level professionalism” of crews but said they were being undermined by a “failing health system” after attending a variety of incidents across North Shropshire, Shrewsbury and Telford.
One of the patients Helen observed being treated was a disabled man who had been waiting 12 hours for help, despite being a category three patient with a target response time of one hour.
Three other patients were designated as category two and were each forced to wait two or three hours despite a target response time of 18 minutes.
Mrs Morgan said: “I am in awe at the dedication and top-level professionalism of all the paramedics I met during the shift. They were all calm, kind and technically excellent at their jobs despite being forced to arrive at patients hours later than they would like.
“My shift took place on what was a comparatively good day in Shropshire and yet there were still eight ambulances queuing outside Telford hospital. Several more were queuing in Shrewsbury when we arrived there.
“None of this is the fault of the ambulance crews or the hospital staff. It is the fault of a failing system caused by a failing government."
Mrs Morgan said the paramedics she was with skipped the only break of their 12-hour shift to respond to a category one call involving teenagers who had taken a cocktail of prescription and recreational drugs.
Another incident involved a teenager who had dislocated his knee and had become so cold waiting in the wind and rain that the medics were unable to find a vein to administer morphine to relieve the pain.
The MP said all of the NHS workers she spoke to made it clear that the solution starts with social care.
“Until patients are able to be discharged quickly, beds will continue to be blocked and ambulances will continue to queue. Meanwhile, patients will be forced to suffer in pain or risk taking themselves to hospital,” she said.
Mrs Morgan added that while she was in A&E, one young crash victim arrived in a car with a broken leg after deciding that an ambulance would take too long.
“Ambulance delays have been awful for more than a year now and despite repeated warnings from across the health service the Government is still not taking it seriously," she said.
“It’s not fair on patients and it’s not fair on hardworking paramedics, doctors and nurses who have to bear the brunt.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service has been on the highest alert level for several months, with patients routinely waiting hours for ambulances to arrive. The service is losing thousands of ambulance hours each month due to long waits to hand over patients to Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals.