The Health Secretary Sajid Javid has ignored requests for a meeting with his local ambulance trust in the West Midlands, despite warnings that record delays are posing a “catastrophic risk” to patients in the region.
Board documents from the trust reveal that the Health Secretary was invited to a meeting over four months ago but has still not replied. It comes despite the local trust warning that record handover delays at the region’s hospitals are putting patients at risk of severe harm or even death, as it moved its risk rating to the highest possible level for the first time ever. The trust recently apologised to one 95-year old woman who was left waiting for 11 hours on the floor of her home for an ambulance with a suspected broken leg.
The Liberal Democrats said the revelation showed Sajid Javid is “ ignoring the NHS crisis in his own backyard,” and demanded he meet immediately with local NHS officials and apologise to patients who have suffered from record delays. It comes ahead of next week’s by-election in North Shropshire, where the Conservative government’s neglect of local health services has emerged as a major issue. The Birmingham-based Conservative candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst has previously stated the “NHS is not worth fighting for”, called for “health rationing”, and proposed cutting back on certain treatments.
Last week, Shropshire ran out of ambulances because they were all queueing outside hospitals. New data has also confirmed the region’s ambulance service is the poorest performing in the country for responding to category three and four calls. The Liberal Democrats are demanding the reopening of four local community ambulance stations in Shropshire that were closed in October.
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:
“Sajid Javid is ignoring the NHS crisis in his own backyard. People are waiting for hours in pain for an ambulance to turn up, and the Health Secretary can’t even be bothered to attend a meeting to find out why.
“It shows how the Conservatives are neglecting local NHS services in North Shropshire and completely taking the people across the area for granted.
“Sajid Javid must immediately agree to meet with local NHS officials and patients and find a solution to this crisis, starting by reversing the closure of community ambulance stations. He should also apologise to all the patients who have suffered due to years of Conservative neglect.”
Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat Candidate for North Shropshire, said:
“I’ve heard horrifying stories from people in our community who are facing waits for ambulances that never turn up.
“Our brave paramedics, nurses and doctors are doing their best but are being ignored by a government that has run local health services into the ground.
“For too long the people of North Shropshire have been taken for granted by Conservative politicians who have failed to support our local NHS services. Next week’s by-election is a chance for them to send this government a message they can’t ignore.”
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