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Ambulance service in England ‘in meltdown’ as one in four 999 calls missed in October

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Ambulance crews could not respond to almost one in four 999 calls last month – the most ever – because so many were tied up outside A&Es waiting to hand patients over, dramatic new NHS figures show.

An estimated 5,000 patients in England – also the highest number on record – potentially suffered “severe harm” through waiting so long either to be admitted to A&E or just to get an ambulance to turn up to help them.

Ambulance officers warned that patients were dying every day directly because of the delays since the service could no longer perform its role as a “safety net” for people needing urgent medical help.

“The life-saving safety net that NHS ambulance services provide is being severely compromised by these unnecessary delays and patients are dying and coming to harm as a result on a daily basis,” said Martin Flaherty, managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), which represents the heads of England’s 10 regional NHS ambulance services.

Flaherty added: “Our national data for hospital handover delays during October 2022 is extremely worrying and underlines the fact that in some parts of the country efforts to reduce or eradicate these devastating and unnecessary delays are simply not working.”

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Source: The Guardian, 23 November 2022

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