Elderly man forced to sleep on floor of Bath church during 12-hour ambulance wait

Patients ‘put at risk’ by ambulance handover delays
MP Wera Hobhouse highlighted the case at a cross-party debate at Westminster. Credit: ITV West Country

An elderly man was left sleeping on the floor of a church as he waited 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive, according to Bath's MP.

MP Wera Hobhouse highlighted the case at a cross-party debate at Westminster.

She said in one instance, a GP surgery ran out of oxygen for a patient because of delays due to a lack of hospital beds.

She is now calling for a public inquiry to be launched, saying patients in and around the city are facing severe ambulance delays due to a lack of beds at the Royal United Hospital Bath.

"Recently an elderly man was forced to sleep on the floor of a local church as it took 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive.

"We are calling for a formal inquiry.

"The Government needs to fund thousands of extra beds to stop handover delays at A&E so that ambulances can get back on the road as soon as possible."

  • MP Wera Hobhouse speaks on ambulance delays

In response, health minister Edward Argar said: "I think both sides of the house recognise fully the challenges faced in these unprecedented times by our urgent and emergency care sector particularly by patients but also those who work in the sector.

"We have a plan to fix it. We continue to invest in that plan and support our workforce and we will continue to do that for the benefit of patients."

A spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said: “The whole health and social care system has been under sustained pressure for many months now, meaning patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance than they would expect.

“Our performance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to handover delays caused by capacity issues in hospitals, and in community and social care. This means it’s currently taking us too long to get an ambulance to patients.

“We continue to work on a daily basis with our partners to ensure our crews can get back out on the road as quickly as possible, to respond to other 999 calls.”