Ambulance workers 'in despair'

Unite ambulance workers set to strike to save NHS as latest figures show 1 in 7 patients waiting over an hour to be handed over to hospitals

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Around one in seven patients are still waiting over an hour to be handed over to A&E staff at hospitals, the latest figures show.

According to NHS England, an additional third of patients waited longer than 30 minutes, with nearly 30,000 patients waiting a half hour or longer across all hospital trusts last week.

The latest grim statistics reveal the extent of the crisis engulfing the NHS, with numbers higher than at any point last winter.

Meanwhile, separate statistics show the number of vacancies in the ambulance service is at record highs, with nearly 3,500 unfilled roles. This is the highest number of vacancies in four years and more than three times the number of vacancies over the same period last year.

The latest figures on patient handover wait times and ambulance service vacancies come as thousands of Unite members in the ambulance service voted for strike action. They will join colleagues from other health unions in a day of strike action on December 21.

Commenting on the latest figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Sadly these figures are no surprise. Our ambulance members who once dealt with 10 patients a shift are now lucky if three are discharged into hospital. They are in despair and feel strike action is the only way to shake some sense into this government and to save our ambulance service.

“Let’s be absolutely clear – this is a crisis made by this government.  It is their responsibility to sort this. Creating a stable pay structure based on a decent pay deal would be a start.”

By Hajera Blagg