The Shadow Health Secretary has welcomed the findings of a review that confirms that ambulances are reaching the sickest patients in Wales first, but notes that there are still areas of concern.
Angela Burns AM responded to Vaughan Gething’s statement in the Assembly chamber, highlighting:
- That over the past two years, 7,000 people waited over three hours outside a hospital to be transferred inside;
- For the same period, over 15,000 people waited over 3 hours for an ambulance to arrive;
- The rise in the amount of hours it takes from handover to clear;
- The rise in sickness of rates of ambulance staff.
Mrs Burns also asked the Cabinet Secretary whether the Welsh Government had the capacity to place clinicians in settings such as control rooms, nursing homes, and police services, as recommended by the report.
Having been a long-time campaigner on Sepsis awareness, Mr Gething also faced criticism from the South Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West AM for the absence of a protocol card for those in call centres on how to deal with sepsis, which kills more people each year than bowel, prostate, and breast cancer combined.
Commenting outside the Chamber, Welsh Conservative Angela Burns AM, also expressed concern that despite the findings, waits for amber calls can be excessive:
“Although it is excellent to hear that the sickest patients in Wales are being treated first, there are still tens of thousands of people each year waiting incredibly long for an ambulance.
“For example, there were cases of waits of over 60 hours this winter which is beyond unacceptable.
“I’m deeply disappointed that conditions such as strokes have not been warranted a more timely response, that there remains no protocol for how to help callers dealing with symptoms of sepsis - an incredibly dangerous condition - and that sickness rate of ambulance staff remains so high.
“Going forward, the Welsh Conservatives sincerely hope the Welsh Government address these shortcomings and that the excessive numbers of people waiting several hours for an ambulance shrinks greatly.”