At the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, ambulance waiting times surged and then fell. But this sharp rise now looks minimal compared with current waiting times – which are now the highest in years.
The average response time, in minutes, for ambulances in England is the longest it has been since records began. Meanwhile, the NHS has reported its busiest month ever for 999 calls, with staff answering more than a million calls in October.
That these statistics have been recorded ahead of the winter months should “ring alarm bells”, said Deborah Ward of the King’s Fund think tank. It points to a health and care system that is “now on its knees”, she added.