'National disgrace made in 10 Downing Street'

Unite slams government failures as latest ambulance and A&E waiting time figures published

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Average ambulance response times in England last month were the longest on record and more than half of people at major A&Es had to wait longer than four hours – the worst delays since records began in 2011.

The new figures also show that the number of people waiting more than 12 hours to been seen at major A&Es jumped by 44 per cent, to 54,532 in December, up from 37,837 in November — the highest number in the last 12 years.

Meanwhile, the average response time for patients requiring an ambulance for a stroke, severe burns or chest pains was more than 90 minutes, more than five times the target of 18 minutes.

The number of ambulances waiting outside A&E to discharge patients for an hour or longer now stands at one in five – a figure far above previous winters.

Unite has described these latest NHS England figures for Ambulance and A&E waiting times as a “‎national disgrace delivered by 10 Downing Street” – damning evidence that on a daily basis this government fails to provide patients and the public with decent minimum standards in the NHS.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “‎It is the government which must carry the can for the excessive deaths that are a consequence of these damning statistics. How dare they try to pull the wool over the publics’‎ eyes by shifting the blame to the unions. The blame for this tragedy lies with years of underfunding and poor pay. It is a national disgrace delivered by Downing Street.”

“‎The government is failing to address the staffing crisis in the NHS and failing to enter into realistic negotiations on pay which would halt the staff exodus. Rather than fix the problem the government resorts to dangerous gimmicks like the anti-trade union minimum services bill, which will make matters worse if France and Spain are anything to go by. The prime minister needs to step up to the plate. Where is he?”

Thousands of Unite ambulance workers in the West Midlands, North West, North East, East Midlands and Wales will take strike action on Monday, January 23 in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay.

Unite will work with local trusts to ensure life and limb emergency cover.

The strike marks an escalation as more workers join the dispute, which saw an initial day of industrial action on December 21 last year.

By UniteLive team