Ambulance boss: Service will collapse this summer

Mark Docherty, of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said patients were “dying every day” from causes created by ambulance delays.

He said he could not understand why NHS England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) were “not all over” the issue.

In an interview with the Health Service Journal, he said of his own ambulance trust: “Around August 17 is the day I think it will all fail.

“I’ve been asked how I can be so specific, but that date is when a third of our resource (will be) lost to delays, and that will mean we just can’t respond. Mathematically it will be a bit like a Titanic moment.

“It will be a mathematical (certainty) that this thing is sinking, and it will be pretty much beyond the tipping point by then.” He added: “It would make me the happiest person in the world if everyone in the system proves to me that actually the ambulance service in the West Midlands isn’t going to fail on August 17.”

Mr Docherty said rising numbers of people were waiting in the back of ambulances for 24 hours before being admitted to hospital, and that serious incidents had quadrupled in the past year, largely due to severe delays.

‘I’ve got dying on from are

Documents from a quality governance meeting at the trust in March show another director warning that “deaths are happening which should not be happening” and, nationally, patients are being let down in a “catastrophic situation”.

England-wide NHS data for March reveal that ambulance trusts across the country are missing a raft of targets, including too-slow response times to the most urgent incidents.

The document also notes that more than 100 serious incidents recorded at West Midlands Ambulance Service related to deaths where the service had been unable to respond because its ambulances were held outside hospitals.

teenagers the street things that completely

He told the Health Service Journal patients fit to leave hospital must be discharged as a priority to free up beds.

He described the large number of medically fit patients occupying hospital beds as “criminal…when I’ve got teenagers dying on the street from things that are completely reversible”.

The nursing director said NHS

England officials had downplayed tackling the problem and questioned why the CQC had issued improvement notices about hospital corridor care but not handover delays.

An NHS spokesman said: “The NHS has been working hard to reduce ambulance delays, and £150million of additional funding has been allocated for ambulance service pressures in 2022-23.

“The latest figures are another reminder of the crucial importance of community and social care in helping people in hospital leave when they are fit to do so.”

Victoria Vallance, CQC’s director of secondary and specialist healthcare, told the HSJ: “There are very real concerns about the significant risk to patients and the impact on paramedics and hospital staff as they do all they can to deliver safe care under the most demanding circumstances.

“We have highlighted these concerns in our public board meeting.”

‘I’ve got teenagers dying on the street from things that are completely reversible’

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