It was good to meet up with members of the North West Ambulance Service today to listen to their update on the difficulties they’re facing on a daily basis.
It’s clear the NHS is in crisis with the safety of patients increasingly at risk. A decade of flat funding, bed closures, swingeing social care cuts and chronic understaffing has left the NHS exposed and without capacity when the pandemic hit. Today, that means overwhelmed A&Es, slower ambulance response times and rocketing waits for treatment. It’s now urgent a staffing plan is put in place to recruit and train the staff needed to provide the quality care patients deserve.
We have ambulances backed up outside hospitals, patients waiting hours in A&E, cancer operations cancelled, NHS staff exhausted after 18 months.
Paramedics are driving for hours to get to incidents outside of their treatment areas – we have newly trained paramedics working in pubs because they haven’t received driver training and can’t start their career until they do and we have ambulances sent out to patients who don’t want them but due to bureaucracy get one anyway.
I’ve written to the Health Secretary raising my concerns and I thank our paramedics, everyone of whom will be working shifts over the Christmas period.