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Posted on 9th October 2017

Ambulance Service In Crisis As Attendance Delays Double

Medical negligence claims against ambulance trusts total £6.5million because of delays in getting to critically ill patients double.

Recent figures show that Paramedics took over 60 minutes to reach 6096 critically ill people who were suffering from cardiac arrests, strokes and other serious medical conditions in the period April 16 and March 17.

When a 999 call is made, the caller is classified in terms of the nature of the emergency, red being the highest classification. In 2015 / 2016 the number of “red” callers was equivalent to 8 people per day who had waited over an hour to be attended to. The new stats show that figure has risen to 17 people every day.

Experts have blamed several reasons for the delays which include hospitals being so full that ambulance crews cannot offload their patients to go to other emergencies and overworked crews becoming “burned out” resulting in crews quitting and not being replaced.

In a Freedom Of Information request by the Mirror newspaper, they have found 42 medical negligence claims costing £6.5million were made in 2016/2017. In the same period in 2012/2013 just 26 claims were made costing £812,000.

Some of the cases found by the probe included a 71 year old cardiac arrest victim wasn’t attended to for 108 minutes, 89 minutes to attend to a baby with life threatening breathing difficulties and 150 minutes to attend to a 40 year old overdose patient.

According to the National Audit Office, ambulance crews lost 500,000 hours due to delays caused by hospitals.


Like your GP or hospital consultant, ambulance crews and paramedics have a duty of care towards the people they attend. On strict attendance targets, if a critically ill person is not attended to quickly enough, the resulting complications can be devastating but avoidable.

The news article which can be found here gives some examples of real life incidents which could have been avoided.

If you or a loved one has experienced a delay in being attended to by a paramedic or ambulance crew, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim.

For a free claim assessment, contact us on 0330 355 9210 or