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NHS’ worst summer ever laid bare: Heart attack patients now wait 52 MINUTES for an ambulance

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The NHS is on track to have its busiest summer on record as it battles a fresh surge of Covid, hot weather and a wave of staff absences, latest official data shows.

Heart attack patients waited more than 50 minutes for an ambulance on average in England last month — nearly triple the NHS target — and more than 22,000 Britons queued for 12-plus hours in A&E before being seen.

Callouts to the most urgent cases have also risen by a third in recent months with the average patient with a life-threatening emergency now waiting nine minutes for paramedics, compared to the seven-minute goal. 

The health service’s monthly performance stats lay bare the crisis in emergency departments as medics wrestle with increasing Covid hospital and staff sickness rates, excess admissions caused by the heatwave and pandemic backlogs.

Ambulance services across England were this week put on ‘black’ alert amid the escalating crisis, signalling they are under ‘extreme pressure, and trust bosses have told sick Britons only to call 999 if their condition is truly life-threatening. 

At the same time, the NHS backlog for routine treatment grew from 6.4million to 6.6million in May, the latest month with data, meaning one in eight people in England are now waiting for elective care, often in pain.

The number waiting more than a year has also risen to 331,000 and more than 8,000 long-haulers have been in waiting more than two years — despite a Government pledge to wipe two-year waits by the end of this month.

And just a quarter of people referred for diagnostic tests and scans were seen within the NHS’ six-week target in May — way below the 95 per cent standard set by the health service.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: ‘There is no doubt the NHS still faces significant pressures, from rising Covid admissions, thousands of staff absences due to the virus, the heatwave, and record demand for ambulances and emergency care.

‘The latest figures also continue to show just how important community and social care are in helping to free up vital capacity and NHS bed space – supporting those in hospital to leave when they are fit to do so, which is also better for patient recovery.’

Heart attack patients waited more than 50 minutes for an ambulance on average in England last month — nearly triple the NHS target. There were more than 300,000 category two callouts in June

Some 22,034 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in June from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, NHS England said. The figure is up from 19,053 the previous month, but still below a record of 24,138 in April, which was the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010. The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 130,109 in June, up from 122,768 the previous month. A total of 72% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, down from 73% in May

Some 22,034 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in June from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, NHS England said. The figure is up from 19,053 the previous month, but still below a record of 24,138 in April, which was the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010. The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 130,109 in June, up from 122,768 the previous month. A total of 72% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, down from 73% in May 

At the same time, the NHS backlog for routine treatment grew from 6.4million to 6.6million in May, the latest month with data, meaning one in eight people in England are now waiting for elective care, often in pain

At the same time, the NHS backlog for routine treatment grew from 6.4million to 6.6million in May, the latest month with data, meaning one in eight people in England are now waiting for elective care, often in pain

Ambulances in England took an average of 51 minutes and 38 seconds last month to respond to emergency calls such as burns, epilepsy and strokes.

This is up sharply from 39 minutes and 58 seconds in May, and is well above the target of 18 minutes.

Response times for urgent calls, such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes, averaged two hours, 53 minutes and 54 seconds.

This is also up sharply from two hours, nine minutes and 32 seconds in May.

The average response time in June for ambulances in England dealing with the most urgent incidents, defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, was nine minutes and six seconds, NHS England figures show.

This is up from eight minutes and 36 seconds in May.

The target standard response time for urgent incidents is seven minutes.

The record longest average response time for this category of incidents is nine minutes and 35 seconds, which was set in March this year.

Some 22,034 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in June from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, NHS England said.

The figure is up from 19,053 the previous month, but still below a record of 24,138 in April, which was the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010.

The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 130,109 in June, up from 122,768 the previous month.

A total of 72.1% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, down from 73.0% in May.

The operational standard is that at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, but this has not been met nationally since 2015.

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