IMAGE: Luke Keohane

Increased ambulance wait times causing misery in Cardiff

Latest data shows a nine percent increase in wait times in the last month. CJS News spoke to two people who have been affected.

Data from the Welsh Government shows a nine percent increase in ‘red’ call response times from the Welsh Ambulance Service. The impact of this is causing major disruption for people who are relying off the ambulance service for life-threatening illnesses.

The data showed the longest wait time on record – 45 per cent of ‘red’ calls were responded to within eight minutes in December. This is down from 54 per cent in the previous month.

Sian, faced a seven hour wait for an ambulance when her 64 year old partner had a stroke in December.

“I found him on the floor. I called 999 and I was told there would be a wait of 7+ hours. I said that he was having a stroke.

She continued; “Unfortunately, this did not make a difference. All I could do is get him to hospital myself […]I was a little bit shocked that he wasn’t a red call.”

Another Cardiff resident, Sarah, lost her father last year to a heart attack. After receiving a call from him to say it would be a two hour wait for an ambulance, she rushed to Caerphilly to try and get him to a hospital.

“I got the call from him at 5am. When I got to my father an hour or so later, he was incredibly poorly. He told me the long wait time.

“My husband got on the phone to 999 who tried their best to help over the phone. My father drew his head back in grimacing pain and then just went.”

“I don’t blame the Ambulance Service- they did all they could do. However, I do have questions about why he wasn’t regarded as a red call. Also, it’s clear the whole health service is crippled and I want to know why.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service admit they are not providing good enough service at the moment. They say that there are lots of reasons why this is the case.

“While crews are tied up at hospitals, they’re unable to get to other patients in the community.

“This – coupled with sustained high demand, the Strep A outbreak and industrial action – resulted in some very long waits for us to arrive.

“Pressures on our ambulance service are not unique to Wales but we want to, and will do, better.

“It’ll take a system-wide effort to resolve a system-wide issue and we continue to work with Local Health Boards and Welsh Government to introduce meaningful, lasting change.”