Stroke and heart attack victims are now routinely waiting more than an hour for an ambulance, after a further fall in performance in recent weeks, and with hospital handover delays hitting a new high point, HSJ reveals.
Figures for ambulance performance this week, seen by HSJ, showed average response times for category two calls at more than 70 minutes for successive days.
3,000 patients may have suffered “severe harm” from delays in February, ambulance chief executives say.
Several well-placed sources in the sector said response times had deteriorated further this month, and that more than half of ambulance trusts were this week seeing average category two responses of longer than an hour.
Some cited an average category two response last week of around 70 minutes, with the services under huge pressure from a combination of demand, long handover delays, and covid-related sickness.
Category two calls include patients with suspected heart attacks and strokes, and the national target for reaching them is 18 minutes.
The figures seen by HSJ for this week showed average response times for category one calls — the most serious, including cardiac arrests and other immediately life threatening emergencies — of more than 10 minutes on Wednesday, against a target of just 7 minutes. Monthly average performance for category one has never reached 10 minutes.
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Source: HSJ, 1 April 2022
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