A Patient Waited Over Two and a Half Days for an Ambulance in the U.K.

A sick individual in the United Kingdom had to wait more than two and a half days for an ambulance to arrive, official data has revealed.

The statistics, which the BBC obtained through a freedom of information request, revealed that in addition to one person waiting for 62 hours, at least three others were forced to wait more than 50 hours between June 2017 and June 2018.

Although the longest wait times were all recorded by the Welsh Ambulance Service, ambulance services in the East of England, the South East Coast, South Central, Yorkshire and North East all had at least one delay of over or nearly 24 hours. To put these figures in perspective, the national target for ambulances is to arrive within 8 minutes.

"These figures represent the extreme end of the waiting time spectrum and are neither typical nor do they explain the circumstances of these individual cases," Stephen Clinton, assistant director of operations for the ambulance service, said of the long wait times, The Independent reported.

Officials also said the long delays were for "less serious calls." The majority of ambulance services actually reported meeting the 8 minute target on average, when looking specifically at the most serious calls, according to the BBC.

Douglas McDougall, who heads the North East ambulance service, told Chronicle Live that regardless of their rarity, such delays are "unacceptable."

"Each of the cases highlighted [in the North East] have been investigated," he said. "A patient who is in a serious or life threatening condition within the community must always take priority."

Lucy Watson, a representative from the Patients Association, told the BBC: "Everybody should be getting the services that they need."

"We know that demand has gone up on all health services as our population is getting older, and we need to see the level of investment increasing so our ambulances can respond in a timely way," she said.

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An ambulance drives past King’s College Hospital during freezing weather conditions in London, on March 2. A sick individual in the United Kingdom had to wait more than two and a half days for an ambulance to arrive, official data has revealed. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

However, even shorter waits of just a few hours can greatly frustrate patients and their family members.

Caroline Hardaker told the BBC that her 79-year-old mother was forced to lay in her backyard for three-and-a-half hours after falling and breaking her hip.

"I think I rang six times in the end, and each time they said they would have a clinician call back, and then they didn't," Hardaker explained. "It was so frustrating, just thinking, 'How long are they going to take?' And my mum was going into shock, her arms were shaking. Her arm had gone numb."

The data also revealed a 15 percent increase in the number of calls for ambulances from the previous year. An unidentified spokesperson for the National Health Service Improvement, an organization that seeks to improve the system in the U.K., said that more money had been given for service moving forward considering the increasing need.

"An additional £36 million ($46.1 million) of funding recently announced will boost paramedic crews and improve the quality of NHS [National Health Service] ambulance fleets," the spokesperson told the BBC.

A Patient Waited Over Two and a Half Days for an Ambulance in the U.K. | World