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Longer Ambulance Waiting Times, A&E In Crisis, More NHS Strikes7th Jan 2015

by David Simpson on 7th Jan 2015

Contact David Simpson

A six-year-old girl choked to death while on holiday in Wales. The ambulance took 16 minutes to arrive – twice the target time.David Simpson Partner Coles Miller

An 86-year-old woman who fell while crossing a road in Verwood, Dorset was forced to wait 90 minutes in the winter cold until an ambulance arrived.

Days later it was reported that South Western Ambulance Service had to draft in extra staff and call on other emergency services after it was stretched to the limit by extra demand at this time of year.

A number of A&E units across the UK are declaring major incidents because they do not have sufficient resources to cope. Waiting times are at their worst in a decade.

Last February, the former chief executive of Staffordshire Ambulance Service warned that delays by ambulance crews could be costing 2,500 lives a year.

Now we read that the government is secretly planning to lengthen waiting times from eight minutes to 19 minutes for patients with “serious but not life threatening” conditions.

A&E is in crisis because it is struggling to cope with the demands placed on it by an ever-growing and ageing population.

Emergency patient admissions are at record levels. Ambulances were turned away from A&E departments 113 times between November 3 and December 14.

In the same period, 22,430 bed days were lost due to norovirus infection at hospitals in England.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has reported how more than 30 patients were queuing at dawn outside a GP surgery, all waiting to see their doctor.

That surgery in Surrey was designed to cope with 6,000 patients – but now has 19,000 on its books.

Ambulances, A&E, GPs – these are the advance guard of frontline services. These are the people who run point for the NHS.

And if they are all under-resourced and overstretched then mistakes will be made and patients will suffer.

Particularly if cover is going to be compromised still further by two threatened 12-hour strikes in the NHS on January 29 and February 25 plus a work to rule between those two dates.

If you have been the victim of a medical error then do not suffer in silence. You could be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of putting the mistake right and all the extra care that entails.

To learn more about how Coles Miller can help you, contact the head of our Clinical Negligence Department, Partner David Simpson, who is recommended in the UK Legal 500 guide to legal services.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.