19 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year
  • Half of places on secondary postgrad teaching courses unfilled
  • Almost a third of pupils missing school and decline in support for teachers and pupils

Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year

  • The Liberal Democrats launch their local election campaign unveiling shocking new figures of elderly patients waiting too long for an ambulance
  • Ed Davey to visit Hertfordshire where he will declare this May “the chance to send this out of touch Conservative government a message”
  • Number of older patients waiting over 4 hours for an ambulance after falling has almost doubled since 2019/20
  • One patient waited close to three days for an ambulance to arrive after a fall

Almost 20,000 older people in England waited more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive after having a fall last year, more than double the number in 2019/20, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will visit the Blue Wall battleground of Hertfordshire to launch his party’s local election campaign. Ed Davey will focus his party’s campaign on local health services.

The new data was uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests to ambulance trusts in England. It shows there were 19,904 incidents in 2022/23 where someone aged over 65 had a fall and had to wait more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive, or an average of 54 people a day.

This is a stark 96.5% rise since before the pandemic in 2019/20 for the trusts that provided data across the full four years.

Even more shockingly, 1,411 older patients waited over 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive after falling last year, a more than tenfold increase compared to 2019/20. The East of England Ambulance Trust had the worst record with nearly 8,000 incidents that took longer than four hours and 769 that took longer than 12 hours to respond last year.

The West Midlands had an average response time for elderly falls of one hour 54 minutes and in that region a patient waited close to three days after experiencing a fall.

In one harrowing story, a patient fell off a ladder and broke their femur and then had to be wheeled into a car on an office chair and then driven to a hospital by their family because there was no ambulance available. The patient then had to for most of the day in an A&E corridor before being seen and then having an operation the next day.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to launch an urgent ‘Falls Prevention Plan’ to tackle long ambulance delays and reduce the number of elderly people suffering after falling at home. The Liberal Democrats want to invest funds in preventing trips and falls to save the NHS millions further down the line in costly surgery and treatments.

This plan would include offering a trips and falls assessment at home to all those 70 and over, with improvements then made to reduce the risks of falling, such as using non-slip mats and rugs or ensuring rooms and staircases are well lit. Alongside this, strengthening exercises would be offered to limit the risk of falls for the elderly.

This approach has already been successfully pioneered in Hertfordshire with an ‘Active Ageing’ programme provided by Hertfordshire Independent Living.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey MP said:

This is a scandalous example of the damage done to our health service by years of neglect and chaos under this Conservative government.

People should be confident that an ambulance will arrive in good time in an emergency. But as these shocking figures show, too often that is simply not happening.

Everywhere you turn our health service is in crisis, from ambulance delays to people struggling to see their GP.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a Falls Prevention Plan, to help people avoid injury.

At these local elections, communities across the country will have the chance to send this out of touch Conservative government a message.

Above all else, the country desperately needs a General Election to get rid of a Conservative government which has run health services into the ground.

This May, families and pensioners have the chance to vote for local Liberal Democrat champions who will stand up for local health services.

Half of places on secondary postgrad teaching courses unfilled

Responding to new figures published by the Scottish Government showing that half of places on secondary postgrad teaching courses are unfilled, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie said:

This is catastrophic news for the future of learning in Scotland. If we want to give our young people the best chance of getting ahead in life, they need access to great teachers and a great education.

The satisfaction that comes from shaping young minds is not enough on its own. Teaching also needs to come with an appealing salary and conditions. That is not the case when violence is becoming increasingly prominent, classroom support is being stripped out of schools and industrial disputes are a regular occurrence.

We need a proper plan for getting Scottish education moving in the right direction. Scottish Liberal Democrats would give young people better access to expert teachers in STEM subjects by bringing back principal teachers for each of them and for each science. That will create a more attractive career path for graduates in STEM subjects within teaching.

The SNP can’t even get the basics right.

Almost a third of pupils missing school and decline in support for teachers and pupils

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today urged the SNP to take immediate action after new figures revealed that almost a third of pupils are persistently absent, while the number of Additional Support Needs (ASN) teachers has cratered, despite the number of ASN pupils being at a record high.

Supplementary Statistics for Schools, produced by the Scottish Government and analysed by Scottish Liberal Democrats, reveal that:

  • The overall persistent absence rate for 2022/23 was 32%, meaning that 32% of pupils in Scotland are missing 10% or more of sessions across the whole school year.
  • The number of ASN teachers has dropped from 3,524 in 2010 to 2,898 in 2023. This is despite the number of ASN pupils now being at a record high of 259,036, which makes up 36.7% of the entire pupil roll.
  • The number of primary school teachers whose main subject is learning support has continued to fall, as it has done every year since 2008. There are now 309, down from 578 in 2008.

Mr Rennie said:

The absence rates are a sign of young people who are disengaged, stressed and distracted.

The shocking waits to get mental health support combined with the inadequate additional support for learning and also the high rates of unacceptable behaviour and violence are some of the reasons for so many young people just not turning up for school.

It’s why the SNP government must cut waits for mental health support, ensure additional support for learning is adequately supported and there is a step change on behaviour.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases and Scotland.
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One Comment

  • These days if we really need to get an ambulance for one of our the people accessing our service, rather than going through a 10 minute questionable and then a hour plus wait we just say the patient is unresponsive and we can’t find a pulse, which is often the case anyway and you tend to get an ambulance within 10 minutes.

    We did the same for a friend who had come off his mountain bike and had the handle bar go trough his groin.

    You shouldn’t have to exaggerate to get help, but, needs must. The paramedic said if they hadn’t got to my friend when they did he would have bled out and died.

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