The Crisis in Our Ambulance Services
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
Our Ambulance services are at breaking point. Record long ambulance waits are leaving vulnerable patients stuck in queues outside hospitals for hours without the treatment they need. People are being left scared, panicked and with worsening symptoms, and in extreme cases dying when they might have been saved.
Patients are being catastrophically let down by this government's woeful neglect of the NHS.
NHS waiting lists have grown to over six million - health service wait times across the board are struggling, shrinking the difference between life and death for many people in need of urgent diagnosis or treatment.
During the pandemic, NHS workers put themselves at risk, working tirelessly, often separated from their families, and have dealt with unprecedented emotional and mental stress. The public played by the rules to protect the NHS and keep each other safe.
But massive shortages of doctors and nurses are not only stretching staff thin but leading to poorer outcomes for patients.
Everyone should be confident that when they ring 999 they will get the emergency treatment they need. Longer waiting times for ambulances have a severe knock-on effect on people's health.
Our wonderful health staff are under immense pressure, and things are only continuing to get worse.
Patients are being catastrophically let down by this government's woeful neglect of the NHS. Boris Johnson was repeatedly warned about the terrible pressures facing our NHS and frontline staff, but chose to bury his head in the sand.
This Government has run ambulance services into the ground with every single target being missed for the most severe cases. They have completely failed to act on warnings that ambulance services are struggling to maintain a safe and timely service. Our wonderful health staff are under immense pressure, and things are only continuing to get worse. This is unacceptable.
In the new policy passed by our members today, the Liberal Democrats are calling for:
- The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to commission the CQC to conduct an investigation into the causes and impacts of ambulance service delays.
- Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper's Ambulance Waiting Times Bill to be passed into law requiring accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published.
- Emergency funding to be made available to ambulance trusts to reverse closures of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed.
- A campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance staff.
After months of failing to get a grip on the ambulance crisis, it's clear that the Government has no clue on what to do. The very least the Conservatives can do is start the process to help the millions left stranded on waiting lists, and prevent the devastating loss of loved ones waiting for ambulances that arrive too late or get stuck in queues at hospitals.
People have already played their part to protect the NHS and each other during the pandemic - they deserve better.