July 15, 2022 8.30 pm This story is over 16 months old

Waiting times for ambulances in Lincolnshire quadruple over targets

COVID backlogs and the recent heatwave are to blame

East Midlands Ambulance Service is facing an unprecedented crisis in dealing with emergencies, with some response times reaching up to four times longer than targets.

The ambulance service which covers the East Midlands has been attempting to maintain efficient services during difficult times over the last two years – with the country still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reported that 1,600 people waited over 12 hours to be seen in Lincolnshire’s A&E departments last month, and ambulance response times are also struggling.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) did not hit any of its response time targets last month, even soaring over four times longer in some cases.

This has been blamed on a series of factors, including a recent wave of coronavirus cases which has also damaged staffing levels due to infection, as well as the heatwave being felt across the region in the last week or so.

The figures make for grim reading. In less serious cases (category three patients), the target response time is two hours, but East Midlands Ambulance Service manages 9 hours 17 minutes for one in ten patients.

For category two patients, such as those suffering strokes or potential heart attacks, EMAS again falls short of targets. Where it should take 18 minutes, it currently takes 71.

It’s a similar tale for category one incidents, where patients are not breathing or losing significant amounts of blood – targets indicate a seven minute response time, EMAS recorded averages of nine minutes and 46 seconds.

Sue Cousland of East Midlands Ambulance Service said: “There are a number of admissions into our acute hospital sites with dehydration – which is entirely preventable.

“Added to that, we have the number of COVID patients at the moment, which is not only affecting patients but also staff levels as well. It’s almost a bit of a perfect storm.”