London ambulance service response times soar for most urgent calls

Ambulance services in London have hit breaking point, with waiting times soaring above target response times while the Conservatives remain determined to shut St Heler Hospital's A&E.

London ambulance service response times for the most serious incidents, e.g. cardiac arrest, have increased to over 7 minutes in December compared to November, new Ambulance Service Statistics have revealed.

The statistics, released from NHS England, show that average wait times for serious incidents have worsened in every region in England over the past month, failing to meet both the Category 1 and Category 2 callout times.

The standard wait time for a “Category 1” incident should be no longer than 7 minutes due to the urgency of the matter, meaning the wait times are well in excess of NHS targets. Similarly, the NHS target for "Category 2" is 18 minutes, meaning almost all of the most urgent calls for ambulance services are being missed. 

Locally, the statistics show that when comparing November to last month, ambulance wait times for calls in London worsened further, with patients across the area being left to wait even longer when they called an ambulance. This has sparked fresh concerns that Conservative plans to close A&E services at St Helier Hopsital will leave residents in Carshalton and Wallington with even worse waiting times. 

Wait times for Category 1 calls in London reached highs of 7 minutes 9 seconds in December, well over the NHS target set. 

In addition, urgent Category 2 callouts have worsened in London, with the average wait time in December of 52 minutes 29 seconds. This is a 20% percentage increase on November waiting times. 

Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to commission an investigation by the Care Quality Commission without further delay.

Responding to the new figures, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Carshalton and Wallington Bobby Dean said: 

“It is disastrous that our local NHS services are under such severe pressure. We need real investment in our area with a plan from the Government. 

“The Conservatives are ignoring Carshalton and Wallington and now we’re seeing local patients and families pay the price.

“The Government needs to step up and stop taking our area for granted. Health service wait times across the board are struggling, our local health staff are under immense pressure, and it looks like things are getting even worse.” 

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