Did you lose a loved one because of ambulance wait times? 

Get in touch by emailing katie.feehan@mailonline.co.uk 

Sajid Javi was told today to immediately address the crisis in the NHS Ambulance Service, which is causing patients’ deaths from vehicles left outside of hospitals.

Campaigners demand an end to this mess and urge the Health Secretary, who has done so in Scotland (and Wales) to support their services in crisis, to summon the Army. 

Last night’s damning report revealed the true extent of problems facing frontline personnel. It claimed that up to 160,000 patients were being harmed each year by handover delays. According to paramedics, it has a disastrous knock-on effect upon ambulance response times. Patients suffering from stroke and heart attacks are kept waiting in line for over 55 minutes.

Medics insist the ‘incredibly complicated’ problem — which has been silently brewing for years — is down to a plethora of factors, but say pent-up demand from the Covid pandemic is likely to have exacerbated the issues. 

People who waited to get care due to strict Government messaging via lockdowns, are now returning to the fragile health system. They have been forced to abandon their treatment by the government. 

Critics say the ‘broken’ GP service isn’t helping, with scores of patients left feeling like they have no option but to make an unnecessary trip to A&E or ring an ambulance because of they’ve struggled to see a doctor.

In addition to increasing pressure on hospitals due to the ever-growing social care crisis, there is also a growing concern that ambulance problems will worsen in the coming months. This warning sign comes after the controversial “no jab no job” rule, which saw as many as 60,000 people effectively expelled from their homes last week. 

Already, care homes had 100,000 workers short before the pandemic. Industry bosses claim that bed-blocking has become a greater problem because there is no place for patients to be discharged from hospitals if they are not yet medically able to go.

Some hospital leaders say that the problem isn’t one of funding but capacity. This contradicts critics who are concerned about the NHS stealing billions from the public purse.  

Paramedics warn the escalating handover delay crisis — which has quadrupled in a year — is worsening response times for 999 calls, with heart attack and stroke victims now facing 55-minute waits for ambulances. Call handlers have never been busier.

A line of ambulances were left waiting outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Saturday night because of handover delays

Due to handover delays, a line of ambulances waited outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham Saturday night.

The NHS has long struggled to meet its recommended ambulance response times for Category 2 incidents which include medical emergencies such as strokes and severe burns but the last few months months have seen unprecedented rise with patients waiting nearly an hour on average for an ambulance after calling 99.

Although the NHS has struggled for years to provide emergency response time for Category 2 cases, which are medical emergencies that include strokes or severe burns, there have been unprecedented increases in patient wait times of nearly one hour for ambulances after they were called 99.  

Category 1 incidents, the most serious, life threatening emergencies, have also seen delays with patients waiting nine minutes and 20 seconds for an ambulance, well above the NHS's target of seven minutes

Categor 1 emergencies are the most life-threatening and serious. Patients have had to wait nine minutes for an ambulance. That is more than the NHS target of seven minutes

A record number of 999 calls were made in England in October with 1,012,143 urgent calls for medical help made. But the time it took answer these calls also increased to a record 56 seconds

A record number of 999 calls were made in England in October with 1,012,143 urgent calls for medical help made. These calls were answered in record time of 56 seconds.

Emergency admissions to A&E departments at hospitals in England stood at 506,916 in September 2021, up from around 430,000 recorded every month in 2010. And a record 5,025 people had to wait more than 12 hours at A&Es in England last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted ¿ the worst performance on record. For comparison, just one person had to wait that long to be admitted in the last three months of 2010

Emergency admissions to A&E departments at hospitals in England stood at 506,916 in September 2021, up from around 430,000 recorded every month in 2010. And a record 5,025 people had to wait more than 12 hours at A&Es in England last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted — the worst performance on record. In comparison, in the past three months 2010, only one person needed to wait so long to get admitted. 

The NHS waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has reached 5.83million, official data shows. Some 1.6million more Britons were waiting for elective surgery ¿ such as hip and keen operations ¿ at the end of September compared to the start of the pandemic

According to official data, the NHS waiting lists for treatment at routine hospitals in England have reached 5.83 million. Some 1.6million more Britons were waiting for elective surgery — such as hip and keen operations — at the end of September compared to the start of the pandemic

Ambulance calls at 2pm…arrives around 4AM: A diabetic pensioner of 92 has to wait 14 HOUR for paramedics.

Mr Pepper celebrating a Christmas. The 92-year-old diabetic spent nearly 14 hours waiting for an ambulance after falling in his kitchen.

Mr Pepper enjoying Christmas. Following a fall in his kitchen, the diabetic aged 92 spent close to 14 hours waiting for an ambulance.

As he waited for an ambulance to arrive, the diabetic patient aged 92 spent almost 14 hours on the ground with his bloody feet.

Cyril Pepper suffered severe back pain and damage to his arm. He also had a head injury from a fall that he took at home Monday, November 8.

Mr Pepper, of Silverdale, Staffordshire, who also suffered a stroke six years ago, managed to alert friends after by pressing a care alarm button at his home.

He stated, “I was lying on the back in such pain. It was terrible.  

Debbie Ausin, the friend and carer of Mr Pepper, arrived at his residence at about 3:00 PM after receiving a Carecall message – a personal service for care.

The pensioner was found on the ground near the kitchen by his wife, and had bloody marks where he tried to catch himself. 

The Patients Association, which represents patients across the UK, said Mr Javid should ‘immediately’ call in the military to support the health service.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the organisation, told MailOnline: ‘Military personnel could offer support as additional medics and drivers — but A&E departments could consider if they could be of support in hospitals where there are staff shortages. 

“At least 2 health boards in Scotland asked for military assistance to assist in several operations. The NHS in Wales has enlisted the help of the military. 

“It would be up the individual trusts that consider whether and how military assistance could best assist them in dealing with current stresses and reducing serous injury to their patients.”   

Over 100 soldiers were recruited to work as ambulance drivers in Scotland last September. Similar numbers of soldiers were also deployed to Wales in September, where they served as drivers for ambulances until November. 

MailOnline also heard from the College of Paramedics, that they could use the Army in the near-term to provide support for ambulance services. 

The college spokesperson stated that while other agencies such as the military can be of great help, it is best to rely on the skills and experience of the paramedics in the ambulance sector who are trained to assist the public. 

“However, we could use our military colleagues, especially combat medical techs, in the interim to provide support for services and give them more exposure during these difficult times.”

The Department of Health refused to discuss whether or not the Government might call in the Army for support to the health system.

Official figures released Friday showed that the NHS is in worse shape than ever, with 5.83 million people still waiting for routine treatment.

And ambulance response times soared to triple the national target in October — the latest dates the figures are available for. 

As compared to the goal time of just 18 minutes, October’s average Category 2 response time was close to 55 minutes.

There was an increase in ambulance delays for the most severe Category 1, which is when patients are experiencing a serious life-threatening condition such as cardiac arrest or severe allergic reactions. Patients had to wait on average nine minutes in October for these incidents to be addressed.

Around 28,900 ambulance handovers at hospitals lasted more than an hour in October in England this year ¿ almost four times the 7,772 recorded in the same month last year. It was also more than 10,000 more than the number seen at the height of the pandemic this January (17,137)

Around 28,900 ambulance handovers at hospitals lasted more than an hour in October in England this year — almost four times the 7,772 recorded in the same month last year. This was more than 10,000 than what occurred at the peak of the pandemic in January (17,137).

Pictures taken through a window looking into the A&E unit show 112 patients were waiting for treatment

The screen also claimed that the longest wait for treatment was five hours 40 minutes

Pictures taken through a window looking into the A&E unit show screens displaying claims that the longest waiting times for patients were close to six hours (right), with 112 patients waiting for treatment (left) 

While the NHS budget and its workforce has been growing, the number of hospital beds available across England has fallen 14 per cent in the last decade. In the first quarter of the year, there were 123,707 beds to treat patients, down from 144,455 at the beginning of 2010. NHS England said the Department of Health is responsible for the drop in beds. The UK has fewer beds than other European nations and the vast majority (96,998) are kept for general and acute care, such as treating illnesses and injuries or performing surgery

While the NHS budget is growing and its workforce continues to grow, hospital beds in England have fallen by 14% over the last 10 years. The number of beds available to patients in the first quarter was 123,707, compared with 144,455 at its beginning. NHS England claimed that the Department of Health caused the decrease in beds. There are fewer UK beds than in other European countries. The vast majority of the 96,998 UK beds are used for acute and general care. This includes treating injuries and performing surgeries.

Grandfather (89) was left in “absolute pain” for several hours while he waited for an ambulance

Jim Rotheram suffered a hip fracture after falling over his pet dog

Jim Rotheram sustained a fractured hip after he fell over his dog.

While waiting for an ambulance, a grandfather aged 89 was in “absolute pain” for many hours.

Jim Rotheram sustained a fractured hip after falling on his dog when he opened the doors to welcome a worker at Runcorn in July 2021.

According to the ex-factory worker, he said that he was in pain for several hours.

Rotheram said that he has heart disease and Parkinson’s. 

It took seven hours for the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to finally be picked up by an ambulance that brought him to Warrington Hospital.

After a successful hip surgery, Mr Rotheram spent many weeks in hospital. He was returning home to recover when, unfortunately, he suffered another fall in August. This time, his leg fractured. The ambulance took several hours to arrive.

With the help of Jean (87), his wife, and other carers, he is now recovering at home.

Each year, delays in handovers to hospitals ‘harm 160,000 patients’

Delays handing patients from ambulances over to A&E departments is thought to be one of the main triggers of the worsening response times.

A report by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) today set out the the problem is not new, but both the number of patients affected and the length of the delays are rising. 

According to the AACE, up to 160,000 people could suffer from long waiting periods for admission. About 12,000 of these patients suffer severe harm. 

Handovers must be done within the time limit set by national targets. But since April 2018, an average of 190,000 handovers have missed the 15-minute target, with the figure rising to 208,000 this September — the most recent date figures are available for.

The delays are caused if hospitals are busy, if people who don’t need emergency care show up at A&E and if the patient flow into and out of hospital is disrupted, the report states.

MailOnline received information from the College of Paramedics, stating that there is an ongoing deterioration in response times and an increase in handover time.

Patients are forced to wait for hours because there is not enough ambulances to handle emergency calls.

According to the college, “This problem isn’t new.” We have reports that go back more than a decade. Reports of ambulances waiting in line for over 10 years are available. But now it is impossible to ignore the magnitude.

“We understand that the situation is complex and the pandemic still plays a role in wider society, but it is unacceptable.”

The statement continued: “With winter coming, it is crucial that the NHS leaders urgently take action to improve this situation and ensure patient safety while giving paramedics hope and concrete action. 

The report called for the speedy discharge of hospital patients, either through targeted urgent funding or assistance to stop exit block that slows down movement from the hospital’s front doors.

Some London hospitals have trialled airport-style ‘arrival lounges’ in recent weeks as a place for ambulances to drop off patients waiting to be admitted into A&E as an alternative to keeping them stuck in the back of the vehicle.

But Dr Linda Dykes, an A&E consultant, said the plans were ‘beyond stupidity and verging on insanity’, adding: ‘Expanding emergency departments without a magic staff tree will result in dead patients.’

In the year up to September, pramedics wasted 96,000 minutes due to delays they faced at hospital over and above the 15-minute cut off all patients should be handed over to hospital in. Comparable figures from previous years did no exceed 45,000 by September

Up to September of this year, 96,000 minutes were lost by pramedics due to delays in hospital. These delays went beyond the standard 15-minute time limit that should have been applied to all patients. Comparable numbers from the previous year did not exceed 45,000 in September

A report by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) today set out the delays in handing patients over to hospitals is not new, but both the number of patients affected and the length of the delays are rising. The graph shows that in 2021, ambulance staff lost 35,000 minutes by September due to the time they spent waiting to offload patients over and above 60 minutes. Comparable figures from 2018 to 2021 did not exceed 5,000 minutes. Some 15,500 patients were forced to wait over an hour to be passed from paramedics to emergency staff in the 12 months to September

A report from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives today stated that while delays in handing over patients to hospitals are not new, both the amount of patients affected as well as the duration of these delays is increasing. This graph shows that ambulance personnel lost 35,000 minutes in September 2021 due to waiting more than 60 minutes to discharge patients. Similar figures for 2018 to 2021 were not above 5,000 minutes. In the 12-months from September to December, approximately 15,500 patients were made to wait for over an hour before being transferred from emergency to paramedic staff.

A 92-year-old diabetic spent nearly 14 hours lying on the floor covered in blood while waiting for an ambulance. Cyril Pepper was left with severe back pain, damage to his arm and also banged his head during a fall at his home on Monday, November 8

As he waited for an ambulance to arrive, the 92-year old diabetic spent 14 hours on the floor covered with blood. Cyril Pepper sustained severe back pain, arm damage, and an injury to his arm. Also, his head was smashed during a fall that occurred at his residence on Monday November 8.

Donna Gilby (pictured) was left stranded on the pavement outside her Cwmaman home as she waited around six hours for an ambulance. She later died from a heart attack while in hospital

Donna Gilby (pictured) was left unattended on the street outside her Cwmaman residence while she waited six hours for an ambulance. Later, she died of a heart attack in the hospital.

Dylan Brown (pictured) said it took two days for medics to reach his father's home in Glasgow after he rang 999 complaining of breathing trouble and his father died before they arrived

Dylan Brown (pictured), said that it took two days to get medics to his Glasgow father’s house after he called 999 with breathing problems. His father had already died.

Dr Kailash Chand (right) with his son Dr Aseem Malhotra who says his father died after having to wait too long for an ambulance when he was suffering from chest pains earlier this year

Dr Kailash Chand (right), and his son, Dr Aseem. Dr Malhotra claims his father died because he had to wait too much for an ambulance after suffering chest pains in the earlier part of this year.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that the NHS needs billions more money, but not enough doctors and nurses to fill it. 

The NHS will gobble up billions more in taxpayers’ cash if ministers don’t address its staffing crisis, Jeremy Hunt warned today.

According to the former Health Secretary, the suggestion that money be spent on the health system to address backlogs and delay treatment had “poisoned intelligent discourse” about the solutions. 

Even with record funding, the NHS’s waiting list for emergency and routine care is at its highest ever level. There are increasing reports about patients being killed in hospital corridors or ambulances, and this, despite the massive investment. 

In the meanwhile, NHS England had been estimated to have up to 100,000 people without enough staff to handle the pandemic. This included 44,000 nurses as well as 9,000 doctors from nearly all specialties. 

In September, NHS bosses were given a £30bn handout and the Government has pledged to generate billions more each year by hiking National Insurance.   

Mr Hunt told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘The argument about money has poisoned intelligent debate about the NHS.

“The system has been set up to tell ministers, “Give us more money, and we’ll get you what you want.”

“When you really think about it, without increasing the capability of the system to accomplish things, principally by recruiting and training more doctors and nurses. You won’t see the improvement you desire.

GPs are not available for face-to-face consultations.

Mr Javid has already pointed to problems with GP services as fuelling the current problems, as well as patients who ‘stayed away’ from the NHS during the pandemic now wanting to be seen.

He said earlier this month that he had told MPs, “[A]A significant number of people turn up to emergency care even though they should have gone to see their GP.

“That’s not their fault at all. 

The NHS has been ignored by them when asked, but they want to see a doctor.

‘But part of the reason I think people are turning up in A&E perhaps when they don’t need it is because they’re not able to get through to their primary care services in the usual way.’

David Huckin, a paramedic working in Northampton, told the Sunday Times that the ‘broken primary care system’ means patients are hanging up when they face long waits to get through to their surgery. 

He explained that there are reports of people being told by receptionists to call an ambulance to get seen face to face.

His comments were a further fuel in the ongoing row between family doctors and the Government over face-to-face access. Professor Martin Marshall, England’s most prominent doctor dismissed his remarks.

Professor Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘There will be many reasons for mounting pressures in A&E but we’re unaware of any hard evidence that significantly links them to GP access.

“Indeed, doctors and our teams make the majority of patients contacts in NHS, and by doing so, our service relieves pressures elsewhere within the health system, including in emergency rooms. 

In a letter to the Health Secretary he said the college’s 54,000 members were ‘dismayed and disappointed’ that he suggested a lack of in-person consultations placed ‘additional strains’ on A&E. 

Jonathan Griffiths is a well-known GP who blamed Britain’s ‘Amazon Prime Mentality’ last month for a rise in the demand for NHS emergency care.

He said an increasing number of patients were turning up at A&E with non-urgent symptoms that could be managed by a GP.

He compared the situation with Amazon’s same day delivery service and said people have high expectations and are unable to wait. 

HM Treasury data shows the NHS received £100.4billion in 2010/11 and its budget had grown steadily until 2019. In 2020, the NHS was given £129.7billion of core funding for its usual services, which was topped up with an extra £18billion to help with the pressures from the pandemic. For 2021/22 the Treasury said the health service is set to receive £136.1billion pounds of core funding, as well as £3billion to help with the Covid recovery

HM Treasury data shows the NHS received £100.4billion in 2010/11 and its budget had grown steadily until 2019. In 2020, the NHS was given £129.7billion of core funding for its usual services, which was topped up with an extra £18billion to help with the pressures from the pandemic. For 2021/22 the Treasury said the health service is set to receive £136.1billion pounds of core funding, as well as £3billion to help with the Covid recovery 

More than 5,000 people waited more than 12 hours in A&E before being seen by a doctor in September, a record high

There are questions about whether the current Covid situation is to blame for the NHS crisis, given that there are half as many Covid inpatients now than this time last year (shown)

The NHS crisis is being blamed on the Covid situation. There are now half the Covid inpatients than there were last year.

Social care crisis 

OAP suffering from a broken hip, cries in pain while waiting for an ambulance for nearly NINE HOURS

Joy Lewis, 76, cried in pain after having to wait eight-and-a-half hours for an ambulance

Joy Lewis (76) cried after waiting eight and a half hours for an ambulance

After waiting eight and a half hours to be taken by an ambulance, an OAP suffering from a fractured hip began crying in pain. 

Joy Lewis (76) had to wait for three and a half hours in the back seat of a car outside casualty until she was allowed into the hospital. 

It was almost an hour drive away from Ford, Shropshire when the ambulance arrived from Wolverhampton.

Les Cheley was her son. It’s disgusting.

We should not be selling our NHS or killing the NHS because there are so many people in this world. This is a dangerous world. It’s an absolute joke.

Ms Lewis was found unconscious in her bedroom on October 28th at 6.10 am. Her partner called 911 immediately.

The son of the mother rushed to her and said, “She couldn’t move my leg.” Her son rushed over and said: ‘She couldn’t move her leg. She was in anguish.

“At around 10.30am, the ambulance call rang again. She had fractured her hip. The doctors said that it could take up to five hours. 

In the meantime, insufficient capacity for social services is likely to exacerbate existing problems over time. Up to 60,000 workers were effectively barred from the sector last week because of No10’s ‘no jab, no job policy’.

According to the Institute of Health and Social Care, 8/10 care homes are likely to lose one or more staff members. 43% will also lose 3-4 workers. According to the Institute of Health and Social Care, this will affect patient care, and will force some to seek treatment in NHS hospitals.

And the sector — which employs around 1.6million people — already had around 100,000 vacancies before the policy was implemented. 

MailOnline spoke with Matthew Taylor, chief executive at the NHS Confederation: “All parts of NHS and social services.” [should]Collaborate to Reduce Handover Delays 

‘While ambulance personnel are on the move and hospitals are trying to increase efficiency in emergency departments, we ask the Government for urgent financial support and extra funding to social services so that safe discharges can take place for medically-fit patients.

‘A properly funded social care system will in turn free up capacity in the NHS, help to reduce ambulance handover and other delays in A&E, and reduce pressure on community and primary care services.

“The government must mobilize all resources to support the NHS during what we anticipate will be one of the most difficult winters in recorded history.”

According to the Patients Association Ms Power said that extra funds are needed for social services in order to allow hospitals to safely discharge patients who have been medically cleared into the community. This will free up capacity within the NHS.

She joined a growing chorus of experts calling for Plan B — which would see the Government ordering people to wear face masks in certain settings and calling for people to work from home — should be implemented ‘immediately’ to protect the health service.

Independent Sage, an influential pressure group composed of experts and other professionals, stated that last week the Government’s backup strategy was urgently needed in order to save the NHS, Christmas, and all its associated services. It claimed the ‘very high levels of Covid’ were putting ‘extreme pressure’ on the health service.

Experts disagree with this argument. Given that the number of people infected by the virus has fallen almost every day for a week, and is expected to continue falling over the coming weeks, Plan B doesn’t seem to be an option. 

East Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust also pointed out that social care staffing issues were behind the ambulance crisis. According to the trust, there were two thousand patients ready to go every day. However, social workers are having problems with beds being freed for emergencies. 

However, the Ipswich Start reported Sarah Noonan as interim director of operations at Ipswich Hospital. She stated that funding is not the challenge. It is of the capacity.

The Prime Minister also last month announced an extra £12billion a year would be invested in the NHS and social care through a 1.25 per cent national insurance hike — which Britons will start paying in April. Over the next three year, almost all the cash will be invested in the NHS.   

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today warned against throwing money at the health service because it will be wasted on the salaries of locum doctors and agency nurses without an official plan to increase staffing levels.

According to him, the BBC Radio 4 Today program aired the following: “The argument over money has poisoned intelligent discussion about the NHS.

Ministers are told by the system that they can give them more money so that they will be able to provide what you need.

“In reality, the only way to get the changes you want is to increase the ability of the system, principally through training and recruiting more nurses and doctors. 

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care, “We have committed to support ambulance crews that tirelessly respond to emergency calls every day.”

‘NHS England and Improvement has given ambulance trusts an extra £55million to boost staff numbers for winter, helping them to bolster capacity in control rooms and on the frontline.

‘We are supporting the NHS to meet the unprecedented pressures it is facing, with record investment this year including an extra £5.4billion over the next six months to support its response to Covid and £36billion for health and care over the next three years.’

 And an NHS spokesperson said: ‘Staff have gone above and beyond over the last year treating hundreds of thousands of seriously ill covid patients in hospital and most recent data shows record levels of A&E attendances and the highest ever number of 999 calls and life-threatening ambulance call outs in a single month.

‘NHS services are working collaboratively – including with AACE’s members – in line with actions set out for systems to prevent ambulance handover delays with immediate effect, so the public should continue to come forward through the appropriate route so staff can help you with the best option for your care.’