Jenny calls for action to prevent ambulance delays
Jenny Chapman MP raised ambulance response times with David Cameron in today's PMQs, noting a number of alarming delays raised with her by Darlington constituents.
Mrs Florence McNeilly, who collapsed in the bathroom of her home in Darlington had to wait for nearly five hours for paramedics to arrive, after her daughter Sue was told repeatedly that more urgent calls had to be responded to first.
The ambulance called for Mrs Jessie Higginbottom, aged 82, took almost four hours to arrive, and again her son Bob Clark was told that there was a high level of calls and his mother's case was not urgent.
Jenny Chapman (Darlington) (Lab): A month ago I asked the Prime Minister about ambulance response times and he read an answer from his folder that did not answer the question at all. Since then, an elderly Darlington woman was left for more than four hours vomiting blood before an ambulance arrived. This time, please may I not have a prepared answer; can we please have some action?
The Prime Minister: I am very happy to look at the case the hon. Lady mentions. She says she does not want that, but I think that is the right thing to do: to look at this individual case. In all our ambulance areas we have waiting time targets that ambulances are meant to meet in response times, and I am very happy to look to see what happened in this case and whether lessons can be learned for the future.
Jenny had previously raised her concerns over ambulance queues during Prime Minister's Questions on March 6th 2014, when she described how 30,000 ambulances are known to have been stuck in queues outside hospitals in recent months, and called on David Cameron to get a grip on the issue.
However since then the situation has not improved, and was so concerned by the cases of Mrs McNeilly and Mrs Higginbottom that she felt she needed to make sure that the problem was met with action, not just words, from the Prime Minister.
Jenny said: "I raised the issue in Prime Minister's Questions because the issue of ambulance waiting times and delays in the health service as a whole aren't getting any better.
"It's not just ambulances; it's about delays in A&E and GP services. The whole system is under pressure."
Jenny Chapman MP has now passed on the details of these cases to the Prime Ministers Office, and will be meeting with NEAS (North East Ambulance Service) chief executive Simon Featherstone next week to discuss the situation.