Patients Left Waiting More Than Two Days For An Ambulance, Labour Analysis Finds

“This is the terrifying reality after 13 years of Conservative understaffing of our NHS," Labour's Wes Streeting said.
ambulance paramedic portrait
ambulance paramedic portrait
sturti via Getty Images

Patients have been left waiting more than two days for an ambulance in England, analysis by the Labour Party shows.

Data collected under Freedom of Information requests shows patients have had to endure long waits for ambulances or being held outside hospitals.

In the North West in December, one patient waited 65 hours, 38 minutes and 13 seconds for a response to a category 3 call.

Category 3 patients should be reached within two hours and include those in the late stages of labour, burns and diabetic attacks.

The longest wait for a category 2 condition - such as a heart attack or stroke - was 26 hours in the East Midlands, and more than 21 hours in both Yorkshire and the South East. The NHS targets reaching category 2 patients within 18 minutes.

Patients also faced record long waits outside hospitals once ambulances arrived, a separate FoI found. One patient waited 40 hours in the back of an ambulance outside a hospital in the South West, while patients in the East of England and West Midlands were waiting 36 hours and 32 hours respectively.

NHS bosses apologised after one patient in Manchester died in the back of an ambulance in October, having arrived at the hospital three hours earlier.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.
Jordan Pettitt - PA Images via Getty Images

Wes Streeting, shadow health and social care secretary, said patients can no longer trust that an ambulance will reach them in an emergency.

“Stroke and heart attack victims are left waiting for hours, when every second counts,” he added.

“This is the terrifying reality after 13 years of Conservative understaffing of our NHS.”

Labour has vowed to launch the “biggest expansion” of the NHS workforce in history which they claim will be funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “No one should have to wait longer than necessary to access urgent and emergency care and we are working hard to improve ambulance waiting times, which have substantially reduced from the peak of winter pressures in December 2022.

“Our urgent and emergency care recovery plan will allow people to be seen quicker by scaling up community teams, expanding virtual wards, and getting 800 new ambulances on the road. This is on top of £750 million we have provided this winter to speed up hospital discharge and free up beds.”


What's Hot