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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Bradley Jolly

NHS in crisis: The Brits who have died while waiting hours for ambulances

Brits are dying because of delays in emergency care - including waits for ambulances - as the NHS continues to face intolerable pressure.

Ambulances have been pictured queuing outside hospitals in the past month, and Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned hundreds of patients are dying every week as a result.

It's said not enough patents are being discharged from hospitals while a demand for beds this winter is extremely high with Covid-19 and flu cases on the rise.

Grim figures from NHS England reveal 93 people died while being transferred from ambulances to the wards in 2021/22, compared to 40 the previous year.

Ambulances are parked outside a hospital in the capital (AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking this week, Dr Adrian Boyle, Royal College of Emergency Medicine chief, said: "We think between 300 to 500 people are dying as a consequence of delays and problems with urgent and emergency care each week.

"We need to get a grip of this. I’d be amazed if December waiting time figures [yet to be released] are not the worst we’ve seen.

"We need to increase our capacity, make sure there are alternative ways so people aren’t all just funnelled into the ambulance service and emergency department."

In recent cases, patients waited up to 11 hours for ambulances - and below the Mirror takes a look at the Brits who later lost their lives.

Patients are dying after long ambulance waits, including delays outside hospitals (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Paul Westerman died after waiting four hours for an ambulance (Diane Weller)

Paul Westerman

When Paul Westerman, 54, suddenly became breathless at his home in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, his partner Joanne called for an ambulance.

She was told by the operator that it would be there within two hours but it took four hours for the crew to arrive, by which time Paul's condition had worsened.

He was taken to Diana Princess of Wales in Grimsby on Tuesday, where he died hours later.

Speaking to Grimsby Live, Paul's sister-in-law Diane said: "When we found out Paul had died, I couldn't believe it. I was in complete shock, I thought it was a joke at first.

"I'd only seen him the week before and he was absolutely fine, he'd helped to carry my sister's shopping into the house.

"He was part of our family for nearly 37 years. He was often described as being the joker of the pack and a fun, caring kind of guy. Paul had a heart of absolute gold."

Ambulances queue outside the accident and emergency department of the Bath Royal United Hospital (Getty Images)

In response to Diane's comments, Sue Cousland, Divisional Director for Lincolnshire at East Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the patient’s family and we are deeply sorry that we were unable to get to this patient sooner.

"We continue to experience long handover delays at emergency departments and an extremely high level of life-threatening and serious emergency calls which means we are having to prioritise those patients with immediate life-threatening conditions and severe injuries.

"We would like to speak to the patient’s family about their experience and urge them to get in touch with us at their earliest convenience."

Hannah Houghton, pictured with partner James Jackman, died after waiting 11 hours for an ambulance (James Jackman / SWNS)

Hannah Houghton

Hannah Houghton , 36, died days before Christmas following an 11-hour wait for an ambulance. She fell unwell at home in Kings Norton, Birmingham as her "breathing wasn't right".

Her fiancé James Jackman called an ambulance at 7.20pm on December 18, but the ambulance arrived at their address 11 hours later at 6.15am on December 19, because emergency response was delayed due to demand.

James, a former builder, made it clear that NHS staff are not to blame for Hannah's passing, has urged the government to "act fast" and "pump more resources in" to solve the NHS in crisis "because they haven't got enough staff".

"This needs to come from the top," he said.

"There are not enough resources to cope, and they need to organise this, as whatever is happening now is not working."

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "Firstly, we would like to apologise to the family of Miss Houghton for the delayed response and offer our condolences.

“Sadly, we are seeing some patients wait a very long time for ambulances to arrive as a result of long hospital handover delays.

"The pressures we are seeing in health and social care means that when our crews arrive at A&E they are unable to handover patients to hospital staff and therefore cannot respond to the next patient in the community.

“If there are long hospital handover delays, with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital, they are simply unable to responding to the next call, which can impact on the care of the patient in the community.

“We are working incredibly hard with our partners to find new ways to reduce these delays, so that our crews can respond more quickly and save more lives."

Iqbal Rahman

Iqbal Rahman died, aged 58, on Christmas Eve nearly one and a half hours after the first call for an ambulance.

The initial crew was diverted to another job shortly after the call.

Guidelines state an ambulance should arrive within an about seven minutes for a category 2 call - Iqbal's category.

Minnie, Iqbal's daughter, said her father’s death was also "heartbreaking" for paramedics.

She said: “They should be getting to people at a stage where they can help. How many families will be traumatised before the Government does what it has to do and funds the NHS properly?”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise to the Rahman family for the delayed response and offer our condolences. At the time of the call, the Trust was experiencing long hospital handover delays.”

Matthew Simpson is grieving after his wife Teresa died in late November (HullLive/Donna Clifford)
Teresa Simpson died after waiting more than 16 hours for an ambulance (Yorkshire Live)

Teresa Simpson

Teresa Simpson died after waiting more than 16 hours for an ambulance.

The 54-year-old woman, from Hull, suffered a cardiac arrest and lost oxygen supply to the brain.

An ambulance only arrived at the home after Teresa's husband Matthew made a further 999 call when his wife appeared “lifeless”.

Matthew says he is still "angry" with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

He says the public should be aware of what happened to his wife and says the system is in crisis.

The ambulance service has offered him sincere condolences and said in a statement: "Our patient relations team has received correspondence from him raising concerns about our response to this incident.

“They will liaise directly with Mr Simpson about specific details relating to this."

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