Hike in numbers waiting more than ten minutes for ambulance

Humza Yousaf has been urged to act to tackle ambulance waiting times.

Hike in numbers waiting more than ten minutes for ambulance iStock

The number of instances where people with suspected serious conditions have had to wait more than 10 minutes for an ambulance has more than doubled since 2019, figures show.

In response to a written question from Scottish Labour deputy leader, Jackie Baillie, health secretary Humza Yousaf, released figures showing 4247 people waited between 10 and 29 minutes for an ambulance to attend when their case was deemed the most serious in the 2020-21 financial year.

This figure is up from 1932 in 2018-19.

In 2016, the Scottish Ambulance Service instituted a colour-coded response system, with purple cases deemed to be the most severe – where there is a 10% or more chance of cardiac arrest.

The number of cases of between 30 minutes and an hour also almost tripled in the same time period.

In 2018-19, 44 patients were attended to in that time, rising to 125 in the most recent year.

Six patients waited between one and two hours last year, compared to three in 2018-19.

However, the number of purple cases seen in under 10 minutes has also risen sharply, despite dropping slightly between 2019-20 and last year.

In 2020-21, 10,687 cases were seen in under 10 minutes, compared to 8304 in 2018-19.

Baillie said: “It’s clear that ambulance waiting times are on the rise and that lives are being risked as a result.

“The reports of waits lasting for many hours are horrific and the statistics clearly show that they are not isolated incidents.

“This is unacceptable. We cannot have the Scottish Government’s failure to support the NHS putting lives at risk.

“Humza Yousaf must act now to support ambulance services or lives will be lost.”

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