Ambulance wait times across Lincolnshire for the most serious conditions can be more than double the national average.
Category 1 incidents are the most severe and most life-threatening incidents that the NHS 999 call line receives. In the best areas, mostly closer to Lincoln, the wait times are as low 5mins 59secs. However, in the more remote parts of the county the wait times are more than double the national average and are over 15 minutes.
The problem has come from various places, with 999 calls hitting a record 1,012,143 in October. This, combined with the issue of lengthening handovers between ambulances and hospitals has resulted in grossly inflated ambulance wait times.
Today the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives has published a report titled, ‘Delayed hospital handovers: impact assessment of patient harm.’
It looks at the impact of the pressure on urgent and emergency care systems across the country and how this is affecting patients. https://t.co/3QXdVek4YS
— East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (@EMASNHSTrust) November 15, 2021
The issue of delayed handovers is not a new one but it has dire consequences on the rest of the ambulance services. Ambulances queuing to get into hospitals is not a new occurrence, according the the College of Paramedics.
A spokesperson from the College of Paramedics, a professional body of paramedics and ambulance workers, described the delays as “Unacceptable” in their response to the latest figures.
“Paramedics report being increasingly fatigued by this constant and sustained situation”
“This problem is not new, in fact, we can show reports going back over a decade where ambulances queuing has made the headlines, but now the scale is so enormous that it can no longer be ignored.”
“We appreciate this situation is incredibly complicated and the pandemic is still playing a part in the wider landscape, but this is truly unacceptable.”
Lincolnshire is England’s second largest county with many rural areas. In postcodes LN1, LN2, LN5, LN6 over 80% of ambulance calls are reached within eight minutes, with LN2 peaking at 93%. These numbers are well ahead of the rest of the county however. In LN13, the percentage drops to 43% and LN7 reaches just 36%.
The figures look for poor reading for some areas of Lincolnshire but with a large amount of rural areas in the county the figures are in line with much of the UK. On average across the UK, there is a four minute gap in wait times between Urban (7m 14s) and rural (11m 13s). Many rural areas in Lincolnshire are around this number, such as East Lindsey, but the concerning areas are the most remote.
The East Midlands Ambulance Service have introduced a series of tips to help keep people safe and protect the NHS this winter. The list includes calling 111 for non-emergencies, regular testing and getting any vaccines that are offered. The full list can be found on the EMAS Instagram account.