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This Government is failing our NHS

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13 January 2015
Heidi Alexander in front of ambulance Just before Christmas, the NHS released the latest ambulance response times data. The figures in Lewisham show us that ambulances are failing to respond to the most serious calls quickly enough, with the numbers reaching patients inside their target time falling significantly.
In Lewisham, just 58% of ambulances on “red” call in the borough arrived within 8 minutes. These calls relate to incidents where there is an immediate danger to life and an emergency response with blue lights is required. Such incidents would include cardiac arrest, traumatic injuries and suspected strokes (the figures relate to ambulance responses in October 2013 and the Lewisham figure of 58% is the same as the capital-wide average).
It is clear that these figures raise real concerns that lives are being put at risk in the capital. For people in a life-threatening state every second counts and action must be taken to drastically improve standards. Our ambulance staff do an incredible job but, like other areas of the NHS, they are under huge pressure. A&Es, in particular, are struggling with an increasing number of people waiting more than 4 hours to be seen. Just imagine how much worse the situation in our part of London would have been if the Government had succeeded in their attempt to destroy Lewisham's A&E a few year's ago! The problems in A&Es across the country has simply meant many more ambulances being held in queues outside of hospitals instead of being able to make their way to the next people who need them.
It is time for the Government to urgently take action on this matter and, with this in mind, I pressed David Cameron on this issue at Prime Ministers Questions last week. You can read our exchange here.

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