Labour MP Bill Esterson discovers how Tory-Lib Dem Government cu

Bill Esterson

Tory-Lib Dem Government cuts to the NHS and changes to 999 emergency service procedures are risking lives across Merseyside, Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has discovered.

During a recent meeting, the MP presented North West Ambulance Service with a catalogue of complaints from constituents who have been left waiting for an ambulance despite being in a life and death situation.

Incidents have included:

  •     A 75-year-old man waiting over one hour for an ambulance after being knocked down on the zebra crossing outside Formby Ambulance Station.
  •   79-year-old Maghull woman, Pat Taylor, left waiting for an ambulance for 80-minutes lying in a pool of blood from her head after falling down the stairs other Maghull home.
  •   Thornton cancer sufferer, Jackie Wright, who was suffering a brain seizure in a public restaurant in Crosby, had to be taken to hospital in a taxi after an ambulance failed to turn up despite waiting for over one hour.

Bill detailed the incidents during a meeting with North West Ambulance Service chief executive Darren Hurrell.

The Labour MP heard that Tory-Lib Dem Government cuts and changes to the emergency procedures was leading to life-threatening delays.

Bill heard that the government had scrapped targets for ambulances to respond 'category green' emergency call outs, meaning that there are now no statutory responsibility for crews to get to a patient. Category green is for patients who are identified as still breathing and having a heart-beat.

All three of the above call-outs were category green.

Ambulance chiefs also say that problems are occurring because of lengthy delays in transferring a patient once at hospital, meaning that  vital ambulances are being tied up when they should be out attending patients.

Bill Esterson said he was horrified by what he had heard.

Bill said: "I have seen a sharp rise in the number of complaints about the ambulance service in recent months.

"From what I am told by the ambulance service, it is a problem of the government's own making.

"It is perfectly clear that the government has scrapped the statutory response times to disguise the fact that they are cutting frontline emergency services which in turn is hitting the service which they provide. If these targets were consistently not being met, then it would highlight that the emergency service was not able to carry out its duties because of the cuts the government was making.

"Similarly, the delays in transferring patients from ambulance to hospital because there are fewer frontline hospital staff to take responsibility for patients once they arrive at hospital. Instead of transfers taking 20 minutes, they are taking as long as two hours. This is having a knock on effect as ambulances are tied up instead of being out responding to emergencies.

"This is why we are seeing people right here in Sefton Central and Merseyside who are in urgent need of help being left waiting for emergency care."

Bill is now demanding an urgent u-turn from the Tory-Lib Dem Government in how they deal with the emergency services.

Bill said: "Instead of making changes to mask the damage they are doing to the NHS and the ambulance service, the Tories and Lib Dems in the government should be making sure that people like Pat Taylor isn't left for 80 minutes lying in a pool of blood while waiting for an ambulance. Or that Jackie Wright's husband isn't forced to take his wife to hospital in a taxi because an ambulance hasn't arrived in over an hour as she suffers a brain seizure.

"I will be presenting the catalogue of issues which my office has dealt with to the new Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and demanding that urgent action is taken.

"In the cases that have been brought to me, we have been lucky that there hasn't been any fatalities. But it is only a matter of time if the Tories and Lib Dems continue their assault on our emergency services." 

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