NHS Crisis: Ambulance Waiting Times Putting Lives at Risk

    Photo: PA [via The Independent]

    The Facts

    • According to official figures, serious safety incidents in the UK - i.e., cases in which a lack of care or an error results in avoidable death or serious harm - have risen 77% in the past year, compared to pre-pandemic levels, amid a crisis in the NHS ambulance service.

    • There were 551 serious safety incidents in the 12 months to Mar. 2022. In one instance, a 9-yr-old girl with a fractured skull was told her ambulance wait would be 10 hrs.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    The crisis isn't just about the backlog. There are around 110K NHS vacancies; without more funding and staff, patients will continue to suffer and die unnecessarily and the public health service will continue in a state of perpetual crisis.

    Right narrative

    More spending won't solve the problems of the NHS. Cheques have been written unconditionally for years, but there is seemingly no appetite for the levels of private-sector intervention that have kept people healthy and safe in other European systems. The government shouldn't be tackling a problem caused by state intervention with more state intervention. Union demands to limit working hours and patients add to the problem.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Current backlogs in the NHS aren't being helped by unions like the BMA, who are demanding limits on GP patient numbers and working hours. The moves of union members will worsen waiting times and exacerbate the deterioration of emergency services.

    Political split



    Sign up to our daily newsletter