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More than 500 deaths in England last year after long ambulance wait

More than 500 seriously ill patients died last year before they could get treatment in hospital after the ambulance they called for took up to 15 hours to reach them, an investigation by the Guardian reveals.

The fatalities included people who had had a stroke or heart attack or whose breathing had suddenly collapsed, or who had been involved in a road traffic collision. In every case, an ambulance crew took much longer to arrive than the NHS target times for responding to an emergency.

Bereaved relatives have spoken of how the pain of losing a loved one has been compounded by the ambulance crew having taken so long to arrive and start treatment. Coroners, senior doctors and ambulance staff say the scale of the loss of life illustrates the growing dangers to patients from the implosion of NHS urgent and emergency care services.

“These 500-plus deaths a year when an ambulance hasn’t got there in time are tragic and avoidable,” said Dr Adrian Boyle, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors. “These numbers are deeply concerning. This is the equivalent of multiple airliners crashing.”

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Source: The Guardian, 9 March 2023


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