Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has called for a workforce plan to address shortages in emergency care and across the whole NHS in a Westminster Hall debate on ambulance waiting times this week.
Karin Smyth referred to the shocking waiting times being experienced by people across the NHS. The average response time for an ambulance call out for a stroke or suspected heart attack is 51 minutes 22 seconds, whilst the target is 18 minutes. There are cases of people waiting in agony on the road for an ambulance for more than 5 hours, and last winter 89.8% more ambulances than the previous year experienced delays of 30 minutes or more.
At present, the Government has a total lack of plan to address workforce vacancies in social care. Whilst there are such extreme staff shortages in the social care system, people who are medically fit enough to be discharged remain in hospital, taking up valuable bed space for new emergency arrivals who are left waiting in ambulances outside ER departments. On a weekly basis, an average of 11,656 patients remained in hospital who no longer met the criteria to reside.
These pressures in hospitals discharging are directly impacting waiting times in emergency departments, putting staff under pressure and patients in danger.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“Emergency department staff and paramedics show incredible courage and quick thinking on a daily basis. They need more support from the Government, and a proper workforce plan that will address the staff shortages across the NHS and social care.
“Twelve years of austerity have led to an appalling state of affairs when it comes to waiting times in the health service, and the Government is not doing enough to address the crux of the problem.
“Discharges from hospitals must be improved, and our social care system must be fit for purpose before we can resolve the issues at the front of the hospital. To do this we need to see a comprehensive workforce plan and social care plan from the Government. The Government’s so-called ‘fix’ for social care is not due to come until October 2023. This is too late and not a fix at all.
“I will continue to press the Government to take action to alleviate pressures across the car system, from emergency departments to social care. There is no quick fix, but if the Government is serious about improving waiting times they must look at the system as a whole.”