44,000 hours lost in one month as ambulances wait outside West Midlands hospitals

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44,000 hours have been lost in one month at West Midlands Ambulance Service, while ambulances sit outside hospitals waiting to hand over patients.

Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee on Tuesday about the delays in one month across the region.

The NHS said patients in the Midlands should use services wisely during ambulance strikes.

It's urging people to take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most, including using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

The NHS warned the services running will be under increased pressure.

Professor Julian Redhead, national clinical director for urgent and emergency care at NHS England, said that “action had been taken” to reduce demand. Increasing the number of call handlers is one approach he said they've taken.

He also said that handover delays were being addressed, which meant working with individual trusts.

It comes as nurses across the country stage their second day of strike action, as the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) says its members should have a 19% pay rise.

The government says this is unaffordable and no pay rise close to that has been offered.

Today Lucy Allan also asked what action is being taken.

She said: "The chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service said at the start of the year that by August and September, West Midlands Ambulance Service would start to fail.

"I just wondered what happens when you get a message like that, what action is taken to prevent us from where we are now, with members quite understandably saying no one is listening we have to take strike action?"

In response to the Telford MP's questions, Professor Redhead said: "Action has been taken. What we've tried to do is increase the number of call handlers by over 300 from where they were a year ago."