Call for probe into two-hour ambulance wait for Market Harborough crash

A Harborough councillor has called for a major enquiry into the time it takes ambulances to reach patients in south Leicestershire.

Monday, 8th February 2016, 1:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 5:21 am
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The call from Cllr Phil Knowles follows an accident in which an injured cyclist in Market Harborough town centre waited two hours for an ambulance to arrive.

The cyclist, aged 20, was in collision with a car at the busy junction between Northampton Road and Springfield Street at about 5.30pm on Friday, January 29.

Cllr Knowles said: “On many occasions, that sort of wait could be life-threatening.

“At the end of the day, I feel this situation has reached such a serious level that something’s got to be done.

“The time has come for a review at the highest level, and I think members of the public should be involved as well as medical professionals to ensure total transparency.

“I’m not criticising the NHS, but people need to know why this is happening, and what can be done.”

Tim Hargraves, locality manager for Leicestershire at East Midlands Ambulance Services, has apologised for the two-hour wait.

He said: “The delay experienced fell short of the high standards our patients should expect and we are very sorry.

“We are currently experiencing a significant increase in demand for our services, with hundreds more calls being received than in the same period last year.

“This added together with the pressures on the wider healthcare system, especially at accident and emergency departments, directly impacts our ability to respond in a timely manner.”

One problem is the time ambulances have to wait at Leicester Royal Infirmary before “handing over” patients to hospital staff, the Mail understands.

This handover time should be 15 minutes; in practice ambulances can be waiting for up to two hours.

“We are working together with clinical commissioning groups, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority to address our challenges,” said Mr Hargraves.

“We have recently recruited over 200 frontline staff and invested in new ambulances which will help to improve our response to patients across the East Midlands.”