Open letter sent to Health Secretary to act on long ambulance wait times as patients left 'dying'

  • ITV News Central Correspondent Lewis Warner has been speaking with patients appalled by ambulance wait times. His report begins with the audio of a 999 call that some may find upsetting.

Patients have told ITV News of their desperation at having to rely on ambulances in rural Shropshire.

The long wait times some people experience in their most distressing hour has led to a new campaign and an open letter to the Health Secretary.

With pressure piling on over winter, the open letter has received signatures from across the community calling for action and help without delay.

A family in Ludlow says when their daughter was having a seizure they had to wait 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Despite calling for emergency services, 12-month-old Myla and her parents were left all alone waiting.

Her father, Darren Childs, said: "At that point it was just pure panic of what can we do, how can we stop this, what can we do to make her more comfortable.

"It was around five minutes in that she started to go grey and then her lips started to go blue so she obviously wasn't breathing.

"It's every parents worst nightmare to imagine their child's not breathing and to know there's nothing you can do to stop it or to help them."

West Midlands Ambulance Service has since apologised to Myla's parents, saying all 27 ambulances assigned to Shropshire on that day were with patients.

Campaigners say the source of the problem goes back to social care.

A lack of provision clogging up hospital beds and leaving ambulances parked unable to unload patients.

Gill George, a campaigner for Defend our NHS Shropshire, said: "Every single day in Shropshire's two hospitals Shrewsbury and Telford, there are about 150 patients who are medically fit for discharged.

"They can't be discharged and the biggest single reason for that is the lack of social care.

"Thursday of last week, there were 23 ambulances allocated to Shropshire, 22 of those ambulances were stuck in queues outside Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal in Telford - that meant people were not getting ambulances out to them in the event of medical emergencies that puts lives at risk."

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire said: "I would say that people in Shropshire are at risk of dying because of the delays in the ambulance service.

"And those are not the fault of the absolutely immensely impressive professionals and hardworking staff who there."

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