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Four ambulance trusts, including East of England, record waiting times of more than 24 hours

PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:21 23 August 2018

Stock photos of ambulances. 
Photo: IAN BURT

Stock photos of ambulances. Photo: IAN BURT

Archant © 2008

A patient in the east of England waited more than 24 hours for an ambulance, it can be revealed.

A Freedom of Information Request from the BBC to all the country’s ambulance trusts has revealed the longest delays across the UK.

In Wales, one person waited for two and a half days.

While the East of England, South East Coast and South Central ambulance services all recorded longest waits of more than 24 hours between June 2017 and 2018, the BBC said.

The trusts said the longest waits were for “less serious calls”, and that they had to prioritise people in life-threatening or urgent conditions.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it “fully accepted” that a number of patients waited “far longer than anyone would like”, but said the figures were “not typical”.

Stephen Clinton, assistant director of operations for the service, told the broadcaster: “These figures represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum and are neither typical nor do they explain the circumstances of these individual cases.”

He said in some cases patients were already in the care of medical teams, while others were affected by extreme weather conditions.

The data also showed that the total number of calls received by ambulance services had risen by 15pc between 2015 and 2017.

East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) answered up to 3,200 calls a day during winter 2017/18.

A spokesman for EEAST said: “With a growing volume of 999 calls for conditions not deemed life-threatening or urgent, and a need to focus on our sickest patients first, less life threatening calls do wait during exceptionally busy periods - there were more 999 calls than there were ambulances, so our sickest patients had to be prioritised first.

“We continue to check in on these patients where appropriate, including suggesting alternative appropriate options such as 111.

“An independent service review confirmed there was a gap between demand and available capacity. New investment will mean more recruits and ambulances will, over time, support response improvements.”

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