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Ambulance workers set to vote on industrial action

Ambulance workers are being balloted over whether to strike over pay Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Thousands of ambulance workers are to be balloted on whether they want to take industrial action over pay.

It comes as unions accused the Government of failing to honour promises, made a year ago, to improve ambulance staff's pay and conditions in England.

The "consultative ballot" was announced today as the NHS prepared for a two-day walk out of junior doctors.

'Lives at risk' after ambulances take 3 minutes longer

Response times were worst in the East Midlands. Credit: PA

Lives are being put at risk because ambulances are taking up to three minutes longer on average to reach the most seriously ill patients, according to Labour.

Chaos at accident and emergency departments means ambulances are trapped in queues outside, which has a knock-on effect on the time it takes to deal with 999 calls, the party said.

Records published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show life-threatening call outs are taking an average of 67 seconds longer than in 2011.

That rises to two minutes and 21 seconds in the East Midlands, taking its response time just over the target eight minutes.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "These figures raise real concerns that lives are being put at risk by the chaos in the NHS."

Hunt blames Labour over rise in OAPs going to hospital

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that too many elderly people were ending up in hospital because of the flawed GP contracts introduced by the Labour government.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt blames Labour. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Hunt told the Daily Telegraph: “Labour’s disastrous 2004 GP contract left many vulnerable elderly patients without good out-of-hours care, so it’s rank hypocrisy for them now to complain about the consequences of their historic mistake.

"We have ripped up that contract and are bringing back proper family doctoring, with named GPs for older people to help relieve A&E pressures.”

He added that they allowed family doctors to abandon responsibility for out-of-hours care.

Age UK: Some in hospital over poor quality home care

Age UK has said that some of those admitted to hospital is a consequence of "not getting good quality care at home".

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "It is important that older people receive the treatment and care they need and sometimes this means going to hospital.

The report indicates a '81% rise' in over-90s needing ambulances. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"However we know that in some cases being admitted to hospital is the consequence of not getting good quality care at home."

Access to high quality social care is increasingly difficult as many vital services are withdrawn or reduced as a result of the current crisis in care.

"The core of the problem is that funding for social care has failed and is still failing to keep up with growing demand. Legislative reform is vital but pointless unless sufficient funding is in place."

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