Patient left waiting 62 hours for ambulance as demand surges

Four NHS ambulance services recorded waits longer than 24 hours last year

Chris Baynes
Thursday 23 August 2018 15:30
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A patient was left waiting 62 hours for an ambulance
A patient was left waiting 62 hours for an ambulance

Four of the UK’s ambulance services kept patients waiting for more than 24 hours in the last year, while one person waited for two-and-a-half days.

The Welsh Ambulance Service recorded the longest delays, taking more than 50 hours to respond to 999 calls on four occasions between June 2017 and June 2018, figures show.

One patient waited for 62 hours, according to data obtained by the BBC through a freedom of information request.

The East of England, South East Coast and South Central ambulance trusts all recorded longest waits of more than 24 hours during the same period.

Yorkshire and North East ambulance services each recorded longest waits of just under 24 hours.

Twelve of the UK's 14 NHS ambulance trusts left patients waiting more than 10 hours on at least one occasion.

The Patients Association said the figures were "extremely concerning".

It came as the number of 999 calls topped 10 million for the first time last year, up 15 per cent from 8.9 million in two years.

The NHS ambulance trusts said the longest waits were for “less serious calls” and that they had to prioritise people in life-threatening or urgent conditions.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it “fully accepted” that a number of patients waited “far longer than anyone would like”, but said the figures were “not typical”.

“These figures represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum and are neither typical nor do they explain the circumstances of these individual cases," said Stephen Clinton, assistant director of operations for the service.

He added in some cases patients were already in the care of medical teams, while others were affected by extreme weather conditions.

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