Woman told ambulance wait was eight hours dies after driving to Eastbourne DGH, says Lib Dem leader

A woman who was told it would be an eight-hour wait for an ambulance died after driving herself to the hospital, PM Rishi Sunak was told in parliament.

Ed Davey, leader for the Lib Dems, speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (March 8), said a woman called Jean called 999 and was told she would have to wait ‘at least eight hours’ for an ambulance. Instead of waiting she drove herself to Eastbourne DGH.

Mr Davey said: “She paid for parking and made it to the entrance to A&E, where she collapsed. Jean died an hour later.

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“No one should lose their mother or their grandmother like that. Will the Prime Minister apologise to Jean’s family, and to all those who have lost loved ones owing to the Government’s appalling ambulance delays?”

PM Rishi Sunak replied: “Of course my thoughts and condolences go to Jean’s family. It is absolutely right that we continue to make progress on improving performance in urgent emergency care.

“We outlined plans to do that just the other month, and I am pleased to say that we have been seeing a marked improvement over the last few weeks in comparison with the peak pressures that we saw over the winter, owing to Covid and flu, both in waiting times in A&E and in ambulance performance times.

“Because of the investments that we are making in more ambulances, more doctors and nurses, and more discharges, I am confident that we will continue to make progress towards securing the care that we all expect and need to see.”

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Afterwards Mr Davey said: “This heart-breaking case shows the devastating consequences of ambulance delays on patients and their families. My thoughts are with Jean’s family and friends.”

He said health services have been stretched to ‘breaking point’ and the response from the PM ‘was simply not good enough’.

South East Coast Ambulance Service has been approached for a comment.