Scottish ambulance waiting times on target as Guardian finds more than 500 deaths in England after ‘long waits’

Under the headline: More than 500 deaths in England last year after long ambulance wait, the Guardian today offers the above data and claims:

More than 500 seriously ill patients died last year before they could get treatment in hospital after the ambulance they called for took up to 15 hours to reach them, an investigation by the Guardian reveals.

The fatalities included people who had had a stroke or heart attack or whose breathing had suddenly collapsed, or who had been involved in a road traffic collision. In every case, an ambulance crew took much longer to arrive than the NHS target times for responding to an emergency.

At least 511 people died in England in such circumstances after a 999 call during 2022, according to figures supplied by NHS ambulance trusts and the outcome of coroners’ inquests.

Such tragedies are happening more regularly, as large numbers of ambulances become tied up outside hospitals, unable to offload their patients to the staff of overcrowded A&E units. The figure of 511 deaths was more than double the 220 known comparable deaths that occurred in 2021.

It’s not clear whether these are average or median figures but you can see Type 1 responses at above 8 minutes in early 2023 and Type 2 responses at above 30 mins.

Scotland’s media are making no such claims today though you can be sure someone is thinking can we just divide that figure by 10 and claim 50 cases in Scotland?

Why are they quiet, beyond finding individual cases on one patient who waits too long?

Here is the answer from the Scottish Ambulance Service, official statistics.

Purple Category (like Type 1), the median in February ranged from 6 mins 51 secs to 7 min 19 secs with the 90th percentile figure between 14 mins 48 secs and 16 mins 2 secs.

Red Category (like Type 2), the median ranged from 8 mins 16 secs to 8 mins 30 secs with the 90th percentile figure between 18 mins 17 secs and 19 mins 6 secs.

So, for the most serious cases (Purple/Type 1) Scotland’s ambulances pretty much on time and, typically, a life-saving minute or two faster than in England.

For the second most serious cases (Red/Type 2) Scotland’s ambulances well ahead of targets and, typically, a life-saving 10 minutes or so faster than in England.

The 90th percentile figure offered only by SAS is useful because it reassures you that, in Scotland, the small number waiting longer, perhaps living at some distance from an A&E, are not waiting very much longer.

4 thoughts on “Scottish ambulance waiting times on target as Guardian finds more than 500 deaths in England after ‘long waits’

  1. What the Scottish media do is find one case and give it big coverage in lurid terms with accompanying performative rage by unionist MSPs and a demand that ‘heads must roll’. I assume that a rolling head would be a matter for Cleansing rather than ambulance services and this would give the opportunity for the GMB unionist leadership to ‘slam’ Scottish Government.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry about this John but it is every where on the Union press.

    SNP ministers have breached the law as regards the Scottish government’s foreign activities by discussing independence, a UK minister has told the Westminster parliament.

    Lord Offord of Garvel, a Scotland Office minister, told peers that, while devolved governments are allowed to engage internationally, it must be only in areas relating to devolved matters.

    Scotland don’t you dare get above your station get back in you box and do what we tell you.
    Gifford he donates to the Tories to get to sit in the Lords and tells us what to do what other country would put up with this really it is time to get out of this corrupt so called equal union.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was taken by ambulance to the Vale of Leven hospital, last weekend. Straight into A&E and into a cubicle where I was attended to right away, as was every other admission while I was there. Many thanks to the marvellous SNHS team.

    Liked by 2 people

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