Socialist Worker

Two deaths after long ambulance waits - Tory cuts are to blame

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2586

Ambulances are delayed due to Tory cuts

Ambulances are delayed due to Tory cuts (Pic: Martin Addison/Flickr)

At least two people have died this month because of Tory cuts to the NHS.

An 81 year old woman was found dead in her home in Clacton, Essex, after waiting for nearly four hours for an ambulance.

And Peter Wilkinson in the North West died at the beginning of the month after waiting 98 minutes for an ambulance

The official target is that ambulances should arrive within 18 minutes of a call.

Their deaths are just the latest sign of the NHS winter crisis caused by Tory cuts and privatisation.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) said it had “more than 4,200 calls across the East of England” in one day.

Dave Powell is the GMB union regional official who organises workers at EEAST. Powell said the figure showed the pressure on ambulance workers during the winter crisis and added that it was “much more widespread than the public is aware”.

“Three hours and 45 minutes is totally unacceptable for an elderly woman on her own with chest pains,” he said.

“Something has got to be done and the government has got to wake up to this crisis.”

He added, “My concern is now that we are actually suffering deaths whilst people wait for ambulances.”

Some 16,893 patients were forced wait more than half an hour on ambulances outside accident and emergency units during the week up to New Year's Eve. That’s up 42 percent from 11,900 in the week before.

The growing scale of the NHS crisis is putting pressure on the Tories.

Even Theresa May was forced this week to issue a half-hearted apology to the thousands of patients facing delays. “I know it's difficult, I know it's frustrating, I know it's disappointing for people, and I apologise,” she said.

That’s why the national demonstration over the NHS winter crisis is crucial to build opposition to the Tories’ attacks. It was called by Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly for Saturday 3 February.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and unions should throw their weight behind the demonstration.

Demonstrate Saturday 3 February, 12 noon, Gower Street, London, WC1E  Called by Health Campaigns Together & The People's Assembly. For details go to facebook.com/events/174477699821503/

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