‘Single biggest threat to patients’: 200,000 harmed by ambulance delays this year

Almost 200,000 patients have come to harm this year because of ambulance delays, according to estimates, as NHS leaders are forced to act on the “unprecedented crisis”.

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives says the “safety net” of emergency response for patients was now “severely compromised”.

Reports by the organisation, seen by The Independent, suggest that since January 190,000 patients have “come to harm”, with 20,000 of those experiencing severe harm, because of ambulance handover delays. The analysis includes risks to patients waiting at home after falls or strokes.

Since January, such delays have continued to increase, with 19,000 patients delayed outside hospital for at least two hours in June.

Victoria Vallance, director of secondary and specialist healthcare at the Care Quality Commission, told The Independent the escalating pressure on the NHS is “severe” and the CQC had “very real” concerns over the risk to patients waiting “unacceptable” amounts of time for help.

Full story in The Independent, 16 July 2022