6th July 2022
North Shropshire’s MP demanded the new Health Secretary make fixing the ambulance crisis his number one priority as MPs from across the political divide highlighted the broken system in a debate in Parliament.
Helen Morgan described the scale of ambulance delays as “absolutely shocking” as she highlighted the case of an 85-year-old woman with dementia who had to wait 18 hours for an ambulance to arrive at her home in North Shropshire after suffering a suspected broken hip.
Helen noted the huge scale of problems facing all of the health system, including bed-blocking in hospitals, struggling social care and over-capacity A&Es such as those in Shrewsbury and Telford where a critical incident has again been declared this week.
Speaking in a debate on ambulance and emergency department care organised by the Liberal Democrats, the North Shropshire MP said: “I’ve had an adjournment debate with the minister on this subject, and a meeting with the former Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid. And yet this Government still hasn’t got a grip on this problem.
“As a proud resident of North Shropshire, I was aware of our ambulance crisis before I was elected in December, and before I started campaigning in November.
“But on the campaign trail and since being elected it’s become evident that the scale of the crisis is absolutely shocking.”
Helen called on Steve Barclay, the new Secretary of State for Health, to commission the CQC to investigate ambulance delays – a request which has been supported by the nursing boss of West Midlands Ambulance Service Mark Docherty.
Mark has previously warned that the ambulance service in the region is set to collapse entirely by August 17 as a result of the overwhelming pressure on the service.
Helen added: “The Government have failed to address it. They’ve thrown our hardworking doctors and nurses under the bus. We’re short of nurses, we’re short of carers, we’re short of GPs and we’re short of decision-making doctors in A&E.”
Figures from West Midlands Ambulance Service show how injured people in Shropshire have to wait far longer than people in urban areas for an ambulance and Helen highlighted how “a decent outcome in Birmingham and the Black country conurbation is masking a deep crisis in the countryside”.
Helen said that hardworking frontline NHS staff are “struggling to deal with a broken social care service, a hospital bed crisis and people who can’t access a GP and so are turning up at A&E”.
She continued: ”That is why Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust have declared yet another critical incident this week. I have literally lost count of the number of times that has happened this year.”
The situation is set to get worse this year, with research by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine finding that two-thirds of A&E clinical leads are not confident their organisation will safely manage winter pressures.