Shropshire Star

Shropshire woman's 21-hour wait for ambulance highlighted in House of Lords report

Evidence from Healthwatch Shropshire has been used in a House of Lords report calling on the Government to declare a national emergency to address emergency care crisis.

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A case study shared by Healthwatch Shropshire with Healthwatch England about a woman with osteoporosis left on a kitchen floor for 21 hours after her daughter called 999 was quoted in the report, 'Emergency healthcare: a national emergency'.

The report calls for the Government to refer the NHS emergency care crisis to its COBRA committee – which has previously dealt with exceptional risks to the UK such as the pandemic or terrorist attacks.

Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin have published a report into patient experiences of calling for an emergency ambulance. They heard from 160 people in Shropshire and eight people in Telford & Wrekin.

People told them about the positive quality of staff, including excellent interactions with individuals, long waiting times and their serious consequences including long periods of discomfort and indignity, avoidable harm and sometimes death, and having to make alternative travel arrangements to get to the emergency department.

Lynn Cawley, chief officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said, “We knew before we put out our call for patient experience that demand for urgent care was high and having an impact on the whole health and care system, but we wanted to ensure the patient voice was at the centre of the efforts to improve the situation. We knew the statistics but wanted to show the real impact on patients and their families that the pressures were causing.”

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Director of Public Health and Liz Noakes, Telford & Wrekin Director of Public Health said in a joint statement: “Understanding the lived experience of our residents is so important, it helps us to see beyond the data and hear the real impact these delays are having on people’s experiences of care and outcomes. This independent report from Healthwatch highlighting these experiences needs to be at the heart of the planning and improving services and outcomes for our residents.”

From the individuals who reported a negative experience of calling for an ambulance, 94 per cent attributed their concerns to long waiting times, with 55 per cent reporting waiting over six hours for an ambulance to arrive.

The report can be found online at and