A HEREFORDSHIRE TOWN has decided not to talk about concerning ambulance response times as it would be pointless during the "total destruction of the NHS".

Kington Town Council was due to talk about ambulance response times in the area after concern was raised at a previous meeting.

But during Monday night's meeting (January 9), Coun Bob Widdowson said it was a "fairly pointless discussion" in light of the "total destruction of the NHS".

Minutes from December's meeting showed that a member of the public raised concern over long delays for ambulance attendance in two known cases, although it was noted that a wait of no more than 20 minutes had also been recently experienced.


Latest figures for West Midlands Ambulance Service, covering November 2022, showed that across the region its average response time to the most critical calls, category one, was eight minutes and 32 seconds. The target is seven minutes.

Among the issues are growing waiting times at accident and emergency (A&E) departments.

For category two calls, West Midlands Ambulance Service averaged 47 minutes and 56 seconds against a target of 18 minutes.

'Hereford County Hospital is dire'

Coun David Redmayne questioned if Kington should have community first responders, which are trained volunteers which respond to emergencies in their local area.

But Coun Widdowson said further conversations would be needed with health bosses, with Coun Redmayne saying formal and regular dialogue with Kington Medical Practice was needed.

Ward councillor Terry James said: "It's awful. I was in the hospital last week and it's dire."

The latest figures for the Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital, show that during the week to January 1, 190 hours were lost to ambulance handover delays, which is the time patients spent with paramedics at the hospital before being handed over to A&E staff.

This can either be in the hospital or in ambulances outside, with 94 patients waiting for more than 60 minutes. That means around 50 per cent of patients faced a wait of an hour or more, above the England average of 34 per cent.

That is lower than the 223 hours lost to handover delays in the week to December 25, with 105 patients waiting for more than an hour. The A&E department, which caters for Herefordshire and Mid Wales, has not diverted so far this winter.


But extra beds have been brought in to try and move patients on from A&E with chief nursing officer Lucy Flanagan saying people should consider GPs, pharmacies and NHS 111 if it is not a medical emergency. Problems also stem from not being able to discharge patients who are medically well enough to be sent home.

Paramedics set to go on strike

Paramedics are also due to walk out tomorrow (Wednesday) as a row with the Government over pay continues.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said members of the GMB have indicated that they will undertake strike action from 00.01am until 11.59pm, but will continue to respond to calls where this is a threat to life.

"The trust respects the right of trade union members to take such action or demonstrate their support of strike action," a spokesperson said.


They also previously said: "The ambulance service relies on each part of the health and social care system working together so that our ambulances can get to patients in the community quickly.

"Sadly, the pressures we are seeing in health and social care lead to long hospital handover delays with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital rather than responding to the next call. The result is that our crews are delayed in reaching patients.

"We are working incredibly hard with all of our NHS and social care partners to prevent these delays, looking at new ways to safely hand over patients quickly so that our crews can respond more rapidly and save more lives."

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