Another long ambulance wait

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Just as poor ambulance response times to Audlem were being discussed on Granada TV on Thursday last week, we have to report another lengthy wait for an ambulance in the village — on the very day of the broadcast. Tragically, in this instance, the patient later died in Leighton Hospital.

When an Audlem resident, who was not in good health, called a friend and said she had chest pains, the friend contacted the Medical Centre who recommended a '999' call for an ambulance. A First Responder arrived quickly and administered help while waiting for the ambulance. The ambulance eventually arrived, according to people on the spot, forty minutes after the 999 call and after driving from Congleton.

The North West Ambulance Service has been asked about the call-out and whether the case had been considered an emergency. A NWAS spokesperson said: "An emergency call was received by NWAS at 08.43 to an incident in Audlem. The nearest resource, a Community First Responder, was deployed and arrived on scene after 12 minutes, and provided support to the patient until an ambulance arrived 20 minutes later. NWAS appreciates that waiting for an ambulance can cause concern and apologises for any distress caused. NWAS is committed to achieving high levels of patient care"

As in the three previous cases, there is a significant difference between the time local people said it took for the ambulance to arrive and the NWAS's statistic, in this case 40 minutes against 32. Previous cases have varied by roughly the same percentage which is concerning as the NWAS uses their performance figures to assess their efficiency against their targets. The NWAS has since confirmed that this case was treated as top priority i.e a 'Red' call.

Given the past issues, questions do have to be asked yet again. Why did the ambulance have to travel from Congleton? And how did it get here, according to the NWAS, in 32 minutes? A very fast car could not travel that quickly. And why, as local MP Stephen O'Brien has said in the local press this week, are the response times still not good enough after all the times these failures have been pointed out to the NWAS?


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