Rural heart attack patients wait 50pc longer for ambulances

The Telegraph reports that there is a 'Heartbreaking' rural-urban divide which means some patients face lengthy waits of up to 1 hour 40 minutes for category two calls

Heart attack patients in rural areas wait nearly 50 per cent longer for an ambulance than those in towns and cities, with those in the worst area waiting 16 minutes, new figures reveal.

On average, people in rural areas have to wait 12 minutes and 31 seconds for an ambulance to arrive for the most serious category one call, which covers “life-threatening” illnesses.

That compares to 8 minutes 40 seconds in urban areas, the analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found.

For category two patients, which can include potential stroke victims, the average wait is 1 hour and 1 minute; 17 per cent longer than the 52 minutes for urban areas.

In the worst area, Lincolnshire, patients faced a wait of 1 hour 40 minutes for category two calls.

The worst area for life-threatening category one calls, South West Norfolk, faced a wait of more than 16 minutes.

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“Lengthy ambulance delays can have devastating consequences for patients. It is heartbreaking that people living in rural areas are being left waiting in distress and pain for over an hour longer than if they lived in a city.

“Entire rural communities are increasingly being cut off from the basic health services they need, from getting an ambulance on time to seeing their local GP or dentist. It’s just another example of this government taking rural areas for granted and allowing the NHS crisis to spiral out of control.

“We urgently need a rescue plan for health services in rural areas, starting by recruiting extra GPs and social care workers to take pressure off ambulance services and A&Es.”

The analysis of the stark rural-urban divide was completed following Freedom of Information requests.

Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

“We are working hard to improve 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.”

Full article:

The Telegraph - Rural heart attack patients wait 50pc longer for ambulances
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