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Sunday, 03 December 2023
NHS England figures show patients waiting long time for ambulances

The BBC reported, the latest NHS England figures show patients needing ambulances for life-threatening calls are often waiting longer than they should.

According to the BBC, the average response time was around eight and a half minutes in August - the target for urgent calls is seven minutes.

It said that data also reveals the number waiting for routine operations rose to a record high of 5.6 million in July.

The NHS in England is set to receive an extra £5.4bn over the next six months.

The money has been allocated to help the health service respond to Covid-19, and to tackle the backlog caused by the pandemic. Since it began, hospitals in England have treated more than 450,000 patients with coronavirus.


According to the BBC, MPs this week also voted for a longer term plan for a new tax to fund health and social care.

It mentioned, NHS England figures show that waiting times for ambulances were slightly shorter, on average, in August than in July. But they were still more than one minute longer than the seven-minute target for responding to the most urgent calls.

These are for people who are struggling to breathe or have had a cardiac arrest.

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The average response time for an ambulance that can take a patient to hospital - rather than a paramedic coming by bike or car - for this category in August was close to the worst on record - 11 minutes 10 seconds.

And for category 2 emergency calls - which cover heart attacks, seizures and road traffic accidents - the average wait was more than 38 minutes, despite a target of 18 minutes.

The figure of 5.6 million people waiting to start routine NHS hospital treatment is the highest since records began in August 2007, and up from 5.45m in July.

Nearly 1.8 million have been waiting longer than 18 weeks, while more than 293,000 have been waiting for more than a year.

That number has fallen - a sign of efforts to tackle the backlog caused by Covid.

Read more: Poor nations yearn for COVID-19 vaccines as rich nations take away lion’s share

NHS England said staff had contended with one of the busiest summers on record in A&E, and hospitals were currently treating more than 6,000 patients with Covid. A total of around half a million Covid patients have been treated to date in English hospitals.

Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: "NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to deliver millions more tests, checks, treatments and operations than they did last summer despite caring for many more Covid patients.

"We do not know how many of those who held back from accessing care during the pandemic still need treatment, but we expect more to come forward in the coming months, and I urge anyone who needs the NHS to come forward."

Data shows there are long waiting times for ambulances across the three other UK nations, but these waits are measured differently and can't be directly compared.

Source: BBC