North-East MP raises alarm over ambulance waiting times

The Northern Echo: RAISED ALARM: Iain Wright RAISED ALARM: Iain Wright

A NORTH-EAST ambulance manager has admitted the cash-strapped service cannot reach emergencies in time, ministers were warned yesterday (Wednesday, May 14).

Iain Wright, the Hartlepool MP, staged a Commons debate to raise the alarm over patients in desperate need waiting more than two hours to be taken to hospital.

The Labour MP said he had been told of about six cases in his constituency where people had waited a dangerously long time for an ambulance.

In particular, he raised the case of William Gouldburn, a retired teacher who died after a fall in his bathroom, after waiting about two hours for an ambulance.

Last month, a coroner said the 73-year-old’s life might have been saved had an ambulance arrived sooner, before he went into cardiac arrest.

Mr Wright said: “Mr Gouldburn’s family, naturally frantic about his condition, placed a total of seven calls about him over this period.

“The manager was asked by the coroner: ‘Is what I’m hearing you don’t have resources to meet demand?’

“The ambulance service manager stated: ‘Yes, that’s correct. It is a national problem’.”

The Hartlepool also alerted ministers to the case of a constituent from the Headland area, whose father has kidney failure – yet an ambulance did not arrive for two hours ten minutes.

The constituent had said: “I stressed the fact that dad had kidney failure, which results in potassium build up, which results in a heart attack.” The man survived.

Mr Wright said the North East Ambulance Service’s funding had been cut by about ten per cent, in real terms, over the last two years.

And he said: “Mr Gouldburn’s case was tragic and avoidable, but a further tragedy is the fact that his is not a unique or isolated case.

“Will the minister therefore pledge to provide more resources to ambulance services in Hartlepool, the North and across England to meet rising demand?”

But Jane Ellison, a health minister – while describing Mr Gouldburn’s death as a “tragedy”, for which the ambulance trust was correct to apologise – rejected claims of a “crisis”.

She told MPs: “I don’t recognise that description and I don’t think the service recognises that description of itself.

“Fast response times are being delivered in the vast majority of cases. It exceeds its targets for response times and should be commended.”

Ms Ellison noted that the coroner said Mr Gouldburn’s call had been “correctly categorised as green” – rather than an emergency – which meant an ambulance should have arrived within one hour.

She said more money had been pumped into ambulance services, but added: “Commissioners [in the North-East] do believe more investment is needed.”

But Mr Wright said the minister was “complacent in the extreme”, adding: “When it goes bad, it goes catastrophically bad.”

Comments (3)

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9:34am Thu 15 May 14

JetMorgan says...

" Funds Unlimited " for the flooded Property in the South East of the UK said Cameron. But slashed Funding for Ambulance Services in the North East of the UK ! Does that mean that LIFE in the North East, is worth LESS than Property in tha South East ???
" Funds Unlimited " for the flooded Property in the South East of the UK said Cameron. But slashed Funding for Ambulance Services in the North East of the UK ! Does that mean that LIFE in the North East, is worth LESS than Property in tha South East ??? JetMorgan
  • Score: 10

11:59am Thu 15 May 14

capt manners says...

JetMorgan wrote:
" Funds Unlimited " for the flooded Property in the South East of the UK said Cameron. But slashed Funding for Ambulance Services in the North East of the UK ! Does that mean that LIFE in the North East, is worth LESS than Property in tha South East ???
Always has done and always will where the Conservative party are involved.
[quote][p][bold]JetMorgan[/bold] wrote: " Funds Unlimited " for the flooded Property in the South East of the UK said Cameron. But slashed Funding for Ambulance Services in the North East of the UK ! Does that mean that LIFE in the North East, is worth LESS than Property in tha South East ???[/p][/quote]Always has done and always will where the Conservative party are involved. capt manners
  • Score: 5

5:19pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Keith Fisher says...

Please find pasted below the concern which I raised immediately the Ambulance Service Managers reported to our local Coroner in terms which were entirely different to their responses at my committee meetings

I also note with the manner in which you have reported the efforts of my MP -- the word "STAGED" is always appropriate to his belated effort !

The current service provided by our Ambulance Services is not only unacceptable it is potentially dangerous to us all. Any simple, and honest, investigation would confirm that the demise of the service coincided exactly with the closure of our A. & e. when not only were the ambulance journeys made much longer but the destination itself was unable to cope with their patient load which had doubled overnight.

When receiving open, public, reports from senior members of the service I gave genuine opportunities for them to claim, plea or even demand more resources. I expressed my concern by comparing them to hauliers who had always had five ton lorries and were suddenly presented with ten ton loads. Their response was a torrent of pre-prepared data, graphs, and gobbledeegook which indicated that they were meeting all standards required of them.
However when they recently appeared before our Coroner the evidence presented there included a statement that they "didn't have the resources"
The clear differences between their stances in public presentations and those in Coroners Court are worrying --to say the least.

For clarification I would emphasise that my reference is to the senior people who are responsible for the service itself and NOT the fine people who are actually delivering the service
I have a very long and very serious file of private "bad experiences" which are distressing even to recall and therefore If I quote them I do so in a manner which keeps them anonymous and I would ask you to accept the following revelation in that same format -- A dedicated, long serving , front line, paramedic has just confided in me that "he and his mates are simply burnt out" He actually loves, and is proud of, his job and intended to provide the service for the whole of his working life. I will not here relay his service history and qualifications in order that he is not identifiable HOWEVER -- I will tell you that he is actively seeking other employment -- as are his colleagues !
Please PLEASE --hear the alarm bell which that fact is sounding

I have read within these pages that the CCG is proposing to address this problem by providing a.n.other ambulance -- which in my opinion
will just join the already long line waiting at Stockton Hospital for their patients to be prioritised

I also read that our MP is "talking about it" somewhere even further away ?

The reality is that we need those who closed our own A&E to admit that they got it wrong and simply bring that essential life saving service back to Holdforth Road

If admitting their massive mistake would require more bottle than they can muster then we will settle for them just bringing back our A&E and saying nowt !
Please find pasted below the concern which I raised immediately the Ambulance Service Managers reported to our local Coroner in terms which were entirely different to their responses at my committee meetings I also note with the manner in which you have reported the efforts of my MP -- the word "STAGED" is always appropriate to his belated effort ! The current service provided by our Ambulance Services is not only unacceptable it is potentially dangerous to us all. Any simple, and honest, investigation would confirm that the demise of the service coincided exactly with the closure of our A. & e. when not only were the ambulance journeys made much longer but the destination itself was unable to cope with their patient load which had doubled overnight. When receiving open, public, reports from senior members of the service I gave genuine opportunities for them to claim, plea or even demand more resources. I expressed my concern by comparing them to hauliers who had always had five ton lorries and were suddenly presented with ten ton loads. Their response was a torrent of pre-prepared data, graphs, and gobbledeegook which indicated that they were meeting all standards required of them. However when they recently appeared before our Coroner the evidence presented there included a statement that they "didn't have the resources" The clear differences between their stances in public presentations and those in Coroners Court are worrying --to say the least. For clarification I would emphasise that my reference is to the senior people who are responsible for the service itself and NOT the fine people who are actually delivering the service I have a very long and very serious file of private "bad experiences" which are distressing even to recall and therefore If I quote them I do so in a manner which keeps them anonymous and I would ask you to accept the following revelation in that same format -- A dedicated, long serving , front line, paramedic has just confided in me that "he and his mates are simply burnt out" He actually loves, and is proud of, his job and intended to provide the service for the whole of his working life. I will not here relay his service history and qualifications in order that he is not identifiable HOWEVER -- I will tell you that he is actively seeking other employment -- as are his colleagues ! Please PLEASE --hear the alarm bell which that fact is sounding I have read within these pages that the CCG is proposing to address this problem by providing a.n.other ambulance -- which in my opinion will just join the already long line waiting at Stockton Hospital for their patients to be prioritised I also read that our MP is "talking about it" somewhere even further away ? The reality is that we need those who closed our own A&E to admit that they got it wrong and simply bring that essential life saving service back to Holdforth Road If admitting their massive mistake would require more bottle than they can muster then we will settle for them just bringing back our A&E and saying nowt ! Keith Fisher
  • Score: 0

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