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Patient waits 62 hours for ambulance.

A patient waited 62 hours for an ambulance, while four trusts took more than 24 hours to respond to 999 calls, new figures revealing ambulance response times show.

The longest delays in the UK were recorded by Welsh Ambulance Service, which kept four patients waiting for more than 50 hours.

A spokesman said the figures were "not typical" and "represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum.”

Between June 2017 and June 2018, ambulances from four services took 24 hours to reach patients, including some with breathing and mental health problems.

The trusts said the longest waits were for less serious calls as they had to prioritise responding to people in life-threatening or urgent conditions.

The new figures also show that between 2015 and 2017, the total number of calls received increased by 15%.

In 2015, UK ambulance services received 8,892,346 calls, which rose to 9,891,559 in 2016 and 10,242,507 in 2017.

Most ambulance services also reported achieving the national target of responding to the most serious type of call in an average of eight minutes or fewer.

Lucy Watson, from the Patients Association, said: "Everybody should be getting the services that they need. We know that demand has gone up on all health services as our population is getting older, and we need to see the level of investment increasing so our ambulances can respond in a timely way."

Paul Jefferies, from South Central Ambulance Service, which covers High Wycombe, said if patients experienced delays it was because "higher categories of calls took priority.”

Stephen Clinton, assistant director of operations for Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "We fully accept that a number of patients waited far longer than anyone would like.  These figures are not typical and do not  explain the circumstances of the individual cases."

He said in some instances the patients were already in the care of medical teams, and others were affected by extreme weather conditions.

The service did not provide details of the four patients who waited more than 50 hours but the longest three calls were in the second most serious "amber" category, classified as "patients who may need treatment at scene or taking quickly to health facility".

The remaining call was rated "green", a classification used for "less urgent calls".

An NHS Improvement spokesman said it had recently introduced an ambulance response programme to help services cope with the increasing demand.

He added: "An additional £36 million of funding recently announced will boost paramedic crews and improve the quality of NHS ambulance fleets."

 

 

 

 

 

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