Long wait times caused a hundred more serious incidents says East Midlands Ambulance Service

Ambulances queued up outside hospital waiting to handover patients. Credit: ITV News Central

Long waiting times for ambulances in the East Midlands have led to the rise in serious incidents over the last year, according to the ambulance service.

100 serious incidents were reported between March 2022 and April 2023 by East Midlands Ambulance Service - most of which they attribute to long waiting times for patients.

That figure is up by around 33%, compared to 74 in the previous year.

Serious incidents are described as ‘acts or omissions in care that result in; unexpected or avoidable death, unexpected or avoidable injury resulting in serious harm’.

The ambulance service covers Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

It says incidents are reported and investigated to “allow learning and improvement” within the service.

Jackie Hulbert had to wait 11 hours for an ambulance after she fell at her home at Barwell in Leicestershire.

The 78-year-old died two-days later in hospital in Nuneaton from an infection. Her son, Mathew, says the whole system is broken.

Speaking to ITV News Central he said: "I'm not surprised, I'm saddened, but not surprised. And I think it'll be reflected across the country.

"I feel really bad for the paramedics and the ambulance drivers and their teams because they came into the job to help people.

"They want to be getting to people in time and the they want to be able to help people.

"I'm not interested in the party politics of it but I want someone to do something so that more families don't go through what my family did."

EMAS has apologised to the family of Jackie Hulbert and said patient care and safety is always their priority.

It said it investigated the reason for the delay in getting to her and has shared it with the family.

EMAS's chief executive Richard Henderson said: "We are seeing some signs of improvement in performance.

"When we talk about handover delays, there are huge improvements from the dire position we saw last year.

"We need to focus on what is in our control. I am confident that we will start seeing an improvement as we move through this year."

Paramedic and Deputy Director of Clinical Quality at EMAS, Roger Watson, said: "We are seeing a decrease, they have gone down steadily through March to lower numbers.

“The trend is still there but we are on top of it.”