Date for predicted collapse of West Midlands Ambulance Service to arrive

Director of nursing Mark Docherty predicted the service would likely fail around August 17 due to ambulance handover delays affecting response times.

It was described as a “catastrophic situation” with deaths happening “which should not be happening” as a result of patients not being transferred quick enough.

But now it has been confirmed the service will continue despite the pressing challenges with work under way to look at new solutions to tackle the issue.

A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “The ambulance service relies on each part of the health and social care system working together so that our ambulances can get to patients in the community quickly.

“Sadly, the pressures we are seeing in health and social care lead to long hospital handover delays with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital rather than responding to the next call. The result is that our crews are delayed reaching patients.

“We are working incredibly hard with all of our NHS and social care partners to prevent these delays, looking at new ways to safely hand over patients quickly so that our crews can respond more rapidly and save more lives.

“Whilst the service is under very considerable pressure the staff in our control rooms and our operational ambulances are working flat out to reach patients as quickly as possible. The service will continue despite these challenges.”

Mr Docherty said at a board meeting in May patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and blood clots were “dying every day” due to ambulances being stuck outside hospitals for several hours.

He told the board: “The issue is immediate and urgent. We have been raising this issue for several years.

“I spent most of the last two weeks visiting families where we caused harm. I can’t carry on doing that, and I am not willing too. Someone, somewhere has got to stop this happening.

“We cannot carry on as an NHS causing patients harm. Some die; I can’t carry on trying to explain something that is avoidable.”

Express & Star Walsall