By the end of 2022, the average wait time for an ambulance in England for patients experiencing emergencies including heart attacks and strokes was above 90 minutes.
It happened following a precipitous decline in 999 response times in December, which were roughly twice as terrible as in November.
Life-threatening cardiac arrests experienced record-worst wait times, while A&E wait times of more than four hours hit a record high.
Patient groups issued a warning that the delays would actually be harmful.
Since modern records began in 2004, the numbers, which were disclosed by NHS England, show the worst-ever combination of emergency care statistics.
The numbers show:
- Average response times for emergency calls like heart attacks are more than 90 minutes, which is five times longer than the target time. In some places, response times are even longer, reaching over 150 minutes.
- Response times for situations of the highest priority, including cardiac arrests, take close to 11 minutes, which is four minutes longer than they should.
- Over a third of A&E patients wait more than four hours
- One in seven patients who require admission wait more than 12 hours for a bed on a ward.
- However, there has been progress, with the number of people on the waiting list for routine care decreasing marginally to 7.19 million by the end of November.
“Pressures on the NHS right now are intolerable – with patients paying the price,” said Louise Ansari, national director of the Healthwatch England patient group.
Up to 500 individuals could potentially pass away each week, according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, as a result of the difficulties in getting emergency care.