Heart attack victims have been left waiting more than half an hour for help.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the local Liberal Democrats has revealed that potential heart attack and stroke victims are waiting an average of 35 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

This figure is over double the 2019 average of 16 minutes and almost twice the NHS target of 18 minutes for Category 2 calls, which covers urgent incidents such as strokes and potential heart attacks.

Dan Boatright, Pershore councillor and parliamentary candidate for West Worcestershire, is pleading for more to be done to tackle the issue.

“Behind these figures are devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families in West Worcestershire watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them,” he said.

“We were told that the merger of the different ambulance services would improve response times, but it is clear that the system is overwhelmed.

“Paramedics on the frontline do an incredible job day in day out, looking after people in their time of need.

“But our overstretched local NHS services are collapsing under the strain of years of neglect under this Conservative government.”

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Malvern Gazette: Pershore councillor Dan Boatright Pershore councillor Dan Boatright (Image: Liberal Democrats)

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The FOI request revealed that response times for Category 2 calls in West Worcestershire have increased by 118 per cent since 2019.

Meanwhile, the average response times for Category 1 calls, the most urgent and life-threatening, was over 10 minutes, up from eight minutes and 43 seconds in 2019.

In response to the rising waiting times, the Lib Dems have created a “five-point plan” that would see a paramedic recruitment drive and improvements to social care to reduce pressure on hospital beds.

Councillor Boatright added: “The Liberal Democrats have provided a clear plan to tackle these shocking delays and make sure ambulances reach people on time in an emergency.

“That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service explained that the delays have been caused by pressures at hospitals, meaning crews are often left waiting for handovers rather than responding to calls.

“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,” said the spokesperson.

“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 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.”

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin declined to comment.