Warning ambulance pressures will worsen if Success Regime health cuts go ahead

Campaigners are questioning how Cumbria’s ambulance service will cope with more work after inspectors flagged up major staff shortages and delays handing over patients at A&E.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) this week ordered the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to make safety improvements, highlighting paramedic vacancy rates among its problems.

The findings have cast further doubt on Success Regime plans to downgrade services in west Cumbria, resulting in patients being taken to Carlisle.

Earlier this week Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall revealed police are being called out “on an almost daily basis” to assist the under pressure ambulance service with urgent cases.

Campaigners believe the report from the national watchdog, which rated NWAS as “requires improvement”, is further proof that the ambulance service is already pushed to its limits.

It stated that vacancy rates in north Cumbria were the highest in the region, at 20 per cent. It also flagged up delays handing over patients at A&E, saying long handover delays were resulting in a shortage of staff and vehicles to attend emergency calls.

Full story in TheTimes & Star Cumbria, 20 January 2017