Ambulance delays leave one in three to make their own way to hospital

By Lucy Ashton

A poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the shocking number of people who were forced to make their own way to hospital as a result of long ambulance waiting times.

The question was asked to those who say they have called 999 for an ambulance over the past twelve months for either themselves or family members.

Across the UK, a third (34%) of adults who say they have called for an ambulance in the last year for either themselves or a family member, say that they made their own way to hospital due to the lengthy waiting time.

This includes one in six (17%) who drove, one in ten (11%) who took a taxi, and even some (6%) who used public transport due to the wait for an ambulance being too long.

Just half (55%) of adults in the poll who called 999 to request an ambulance say that they waited for an ambulance, despite being in need of medical care.

Communities spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP, right,  said:  “These frightening figures reveal the horror of the ambulance crisis.

“People in life-threatening situations need to know that someone will be there to help them when they need it. Tragically and despite the best efforts of hard-pressed paramedics, all across Scotland, this is simply not happening.

“Ministers should apologise to every member of the public forced to make their own way to hospital because the ambulance simply couldn’t turn up in time.

“The Scottish Government have continuously ignored the warnings of ambulance staff. They have also opposed and voted down Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle the crisis, such as recruiting more paramedics, a staff burnout prevention strategy and an urgent inquiry into the hundreds of avoidable deaths linked to the emergency care crisis,

 “This is a life-or-death issue and the Government just doesn’t seem to get it.”

Meanwhile, the persistent crisis in A&E departments must be a ‘wake up call’ for new Health Secretary Michael Matheson, Scottish Labour has said today.

Statistics published this morning for the week ending 2nd April have shown that a shocking 1,326 people waited over half a day (12 hours) to be seen in A&E in only one week.

Shockingly, only 63% of the 25,294 attendances were seen within the four hour standard – with 3,333 waiting over 8 hours.

Jackie Baillie and Michael Matheson, the new Health Secretary, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The statistics also show the specific pressure on health boards across the country with only 44.2% seen in four hours at Forth Valley and only 55.9% and 57.3% recorded as being seen on time across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire respectively.

In particular, in Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, only 40.6% of patients were seen within the four-hour standard, resulting in 1,100 waiting over 4 hours. In NHS Lothian, 1,054 alone waited over four hours in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “These stark statistics should be sounding a wake up call for Scotland’s new Health Secretary Michael Matheson.

“It is clear for all to see that the colossal incompetence of former Health secretary Humza Yousaf has turned our NHS’s winter crisis into a perpetual state of chaos.

“Medical staff are fighting furiously to keep our NHS above water but they are being failed by an out of touch and out of ideas SNP.

“It’s time for Michael Matheson to draw a line under the failure of the Yousaf era, listen to frontline workers and act to bolster our NHS.”

During week ending 2 April 2023:

  • There were 25,294 attendances at Emergency Departments in NHS Scotland.
  • 63% of ED attendances were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.
  • 3,333 patients spent more than 8 hours in an Emergency Department.
  • 1,326 patients spent more than 12 hours in an Emergency Department.

One comment

  1. Willie Rennie’s time would be better spent in supporting the Scottish Ambulance Service in their struggle in trying to prevent the abuse of its Service by callers who just wish to abuse an expensive resource and use it like a glorified hospital taxi. all calls are triaged to ensure the resources go to the most life threatening, if someone uses a taxi or family members to take them to Hospital they were not life threatening, they would have been advised of this by NHS 24 and the Ambulance Service, if someone calls an Ambulance unnecessarily they are putting the Serious Cardiac Arrest and Vehicle Collision Patients risk in the Golden hour, Willie should be directing those patients through NHS 24, Medical Assessment Units and Minor injuries, maybe Willie is one of the type of people if he gets a sore leg he would expect an Ambulance to turn up and Taxi him to a Hospital instead of trying some self help, the type who would expect to be spoon fed by the Scottish Ambulance Service, the crews on the ground know only to well the so called patients that abuse the NHS in general.

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