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Labour's Shadow Health Secretary visits Hastings Ambulance Station with Helena Dollimore

Hastings & Rye has been named the worst place in the South East to call an ambulance for heart attacks and strokes

New data has revealed that Hastings and Rye is the worst-performing constituency in the South East, with patients forced to wait an average of 37 minutes for an ambulance for category 2 callouts, which include cases of suspected heart attacks and strokes. This is more than double the NHS target of 18 minutes, and significantly worse than nearby Eastbourne (30 minutes), Brighton (27 minutes) and Ashford (25 minutes).

1. Average of category 2 ambulance waiting times in south east for the last 6 months. Figures collected from a freedom of information request sent to the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Within the Hastings and Rye constituency, the problem is worst in Winchelsea, where the response time for suspected heart attacks and strokes is a staggering 45 minutes, and Rye where it takes 42 minutes. In Hastings, the best-performing part of the constituency, the average response time is still more than 10 minutes longer than the NHS target.

Hastings & Rye was also the second worst-performing area in the South East for category 1 calls, which include the most life-threatening injuries and illnesses, performing worse than Eastbourne, Brighton, Ashford, and Tunbridge Wells areas. The average response time of 9 minutes is 2 minutes longer than the NHS target.

In July, the average response time for category 2 callouts across the South East Coast was half an hour, while more than 3,000 patients with conditions like suspected heart attack or strokes had to wait more than an hour for an ambulance.

Ambulance services and hospitals across the South East are struggling with demand and staff shortages. There are currently 1,500 doctor vacancies and 6,500 nursing vacancies across the NHS in the South East.

2. Average of category 2 ambulance waiting times in Hastings & Rye for the last 6 months. Figures collected from a freedom of information request sent to the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will be visiting Hastings Ambulance station today (Friday 22nd September) with Helena Dollimore, Labour’s candidate for Hastings & Rye, to discuss ambulance services in the area. Labour has pledged to cut ambulance waits and return to safe waiting times for patients, by training thousands more staff and reforming the health service.


Wes Streeting, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“After 13 years of the Conservatives, the basic promise of the NHS - that it will be there for us when we need it – has been broken.

“Patients can no longer trust that an ambulance will reach them in an emergency. Stroke and heart attack victims, in Hastings and Rye and across the country, are left waiting for far too long when every second counts.

“This is the terrifying reality after 13 years of Conservative understaffing of our NHS.

“Labour will oversee the biggest expansion of NHS staff in history and reform the health service, so it can be there for us when we need it, once again.”

Labour candidate for Hastings and Rye, Helena Dollimore said:

“These ambulance delays are the result of 13 years of Conservative mismanagement of our NHS.”

“The data I have uncovered is deeply concerning and shows Hastings and Rye is being left behind. People in Hastings and Rye should not have to wait longer than those in Ashford or Brighton.”


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