Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin, has asked the Secretary of State this week why a GP from Bedford’s Pemberley Surgery was told that his patient, who required urgent admission, would have to wait 10 hours for an ambulance.
Attending Health and Social Care Questions the MP explained how the incident last week, and others, shows the service is still failing, despite extra funding and assurances from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS).
Over the last few years the troubled EEAS has faced criticism over poor performance and response times which forced its former CEO to resign and be replaced with a temporary boss.
The account by the Bedford GP also backs up a recent report from Pulse Magazine that revealed the average response times are significantly longer for calls made from a GP practice, across all ambulance trusts in the UK.
Mr Yasin challenged the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to look at why this is happening.
Speaking before he attended Health and Social Care Questions, Mr Yasin said: “I am shocked to hear a GP with a patient in urgent need of hospital care was told there would be a 10 hour wait for an ambulance.
“Obviously, this is unacceptable and leaving very sick patients to wait like this is outrageous.
“It is fortunate in this case, that the patient could be taken to hospital by a family member for appropriate and potentially life-saving care.
“The East of England Ambulance Service assured me after last year’s winter crisis that the service would improve but this incident would strongly suggest that they haven’t got their house in order and patients are at risk.
“I am also very concerned that this incident may be part of a wider issue of patients being deliberately downgraded if an ambulance is called from a GP surgery.
“Reports that a two-tier system has come in to play where an Ambulance Trust will allow patients who are under the care of a medical professional to wait longer viewing them as less at risk is very worrying.
“I will ask the Secretary of State to urgently investigate these findings because if this is happening, it is a very dangerous precedent.
“It puts patients at risk and leaves GPs unable to respond to the many other important clinical situations that they face each day, which could endanger other seriously unwell people.”
We have contacted the East of England Ambulance Service for comment.