Hospitals across the country are being unfairly fined by the Government for leaving patients in ambulances because their Accident and Emergency Departments are no longer equipped to deal with them when they should, according to Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.
But when he raised the issue at Prime Minister’s question time in the Commons today, David Cameron ignored the issue entirely, preferring to claim instead that the NHS is getting more money than ever before.
Alex asked: “Because of this Government’s incompetent management of the NHS, 256,000 patients were forced to wait in the back of ambulances as Accident and Emergency Departments couldn’t admit them. Why does the Prime Minister think the best way to deal with this is to fine hospitals Ninety Million Pounds for his Government’s failure?”
Whilst recognising that hospitals in the Tees Valley may not be facing the level of problem elsewhere in the country, Alex said he was still extremely concerned that a quarter of a million people were left lying in ambulances outside hospitals because they couldn’t cope.
“I know there has been an increase in people attending A&E departments, but it is no excuse for people left, often at their most vulnerable, not knowing when they are going to get into their hospital. It also ties up valuable ambulance resources and it may be a matter of time before lives are lost if crews are delayed responding to 999 calls.
“I believe the Government needs to accept responsibility and take action to end this problem. The Prime Minister dodged my question completely today, preferring to claim that the Tories were putting more money into the NHS. If that is the case, why are our local hospitals being told by Mr Cameron’s Government that they must “save” tens of millions of pounds over the next few years? It just doesn’t stack up.
”This is a failure of management. The Government has squandered billions of pounds on a needless, top-down re-organisation of the NHS – billions that could have ensured that patients weren’t left in ambulances outside hospitals and that operation waiting times, now escalating, would be brought down. Sadly, it isn’t happening.”