Why are we waiting? West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper slams North West Ambulance Service for delays
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West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has highlighted two cases in recent weeks - one where an elderly man waited almost three hours in the street for an ambulance after falling and injuring his head and a second where an 87 year old woman faced a six hour wait.
She had previously contacted the Health Secretary Sajid Javid calling for more resources and manpower for the regional service.
But she also wrote to the service's Chief Executive Officer Daren Mochrie to complain about response times and was astonished to be told she would have to wait "up to 40 working days" for a response.
She said: “It looks like I am waiting as long for a response as I am for an ambulance in West Lancashire! This letter shared details of another disgracefully long wait for an ambulance, this time an 87 year old woman who waited six hours. Now NWAS want to take two months to explain what went wrong. Constituents need timely responses to their complaints, but more importantly they need timely ambulances in the first place.”
In the case of the 88 year old man who fell in Parbold and was left in the road for almost three hours in the cold and rain the MP and her staff intervened. They said the man was "triaged by members of the public and a local GP" before being taken to hospital in a neighbour’s car.
Afterwards Rosie said: “I have been complaining for some time about the failures of NWAS. When my office tried to raise the alarm to speed things up, the Chief Executive’s office just told us to call 999 again. God knows if an ambulance was ever going to turn up.
“I had to phone the North West Director for NHS England and Improvement, and I am grateful that a local GP was able to help this man. But between that and him being taken to hospital with a nasty head wound by a neighbour, I am left wondering if we are at the bottom of the barrel. Can the “Not Working Ambulance Service” get any worse? It is failing my constituents.
“I have raised this with the Secretary of State for Health as a matter of urgency. I have told the Government time and time again that the service needs more resources and manpower. "
She continued: "We appear to be constantly living in ‘unprecedented times’ and told to expect and forgive poor service. But there is no longer anything unprecedented about this. We have known the service is on its knees for over a year and nothing has been done. It is the duty of the Secretary of State and the Government to provide a responsive and reliable service. I hold them equally responsible for this disaster.”
A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said, "Our ambulance crews and emergency call handlers are working to ensure that everyone who needs an ambulance gets one. However, we are extremely busy at the moment, handling just over 5,000 emergency calls per day. This means that, unfortunately, some patients, particularly those with non-life-threatening conditions, are waiting longer than we would like.
"We hope the patient makes a full recovery and invite him to contact our patient safety team if he would like us to look into this further. We have also invited Ms Cooper to meet with our Chief Executive, Daren Mochrie, about the incident."
Regarding the complaint about the time taken to respond to the MP's letter the spokesperson said, “The trust did receive a complaint from Rosie Cooper’s office and, as per our Complaints Procedure, an acknowledgement was sent the next day. A further update was issued on 9 November advising that the complaint was being processed within a target time frame of 40 working days. All trust complaints are given a risk score, taking into account what is needed for a full investigation, e.g. talking to third parties or organisations. The complainant is then advised of the expected time frame which can range from 20 to 60 working days.”
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