Ambulance delays are costing lives, says GMB

The GMB says ambulance delays are costing lives up and down the country.  

Research by the union as showed 123 patients have died as a result of ambulance handover delays since 2014, with a further 279 having been severely harmed due to delays accessing care. Overall, the total number of reported potentially harmful incidents rose by 52% between 2014 and 2017.

The shock figures were revealed in response Freedom of Information Act request submitted by GMB to the regulator NHS Improvement.

They show that a total of 4,461 ambulance patients were hurt in some way due to access, admission, transfer or discharge problems.

GMB delegates are set to move a motion to review the emergency handover process for ambulance technicians and paramedics at the union’s Public Services Section Conference, ahead of the union’s 101st Congress in Brighton from June 4 to 6.

GMB national officer Kevin Brandstatter said: “GMB members working for ambulance trusts continuously complain of lengthening times to hand patients over to A&E departments, leading to longer response times for 999 calls.

“It puts enormous strain and stress on people who are already working to the absolute limit of their capacity. It’s sadly no surprise these delays are costing lives up and down the country.  This is a terrible indictment of the lack of investment in the NHS.

“Staff are overworked, underpaid and there are almost vacancies throughout the NHS. This is a national scandal and the Government is solely to blame. Theresa May and her cabinet should call an early election so that the people can pass judgement.”

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