The extent to which officers of South Wales Police have had to take patients to hospitals, rather than wait for an ambulance crew, has been revealed by data obtained from Plaid Cymru councillor, Tim Thomas. The data comes amidst significant budget savings for South Wales Police and follows the Welsh Ambulance Service recently missing its target of reaching 65% of life threatening incidents in 8 minutes.
Over the last five years, South Wales Police have taken patients to hospital in police vehicles on 611 occasions across the force area with 64 of those incidents occurring in the Bridgend area – around 10% of the total. However, data from 2013/14 shows the growing reliance on police in this area with 187 patients conveyed with 33 being in Bridgend.
Councillor Thomas said /
‘I know that NHS staff, including paramedics, do a first class job under exceptionally difficult circumstances, but this data reinforces my concerns from recent hospital response times that there is an underlining failure from management at the Welsh Ambulance Service and a clear need for the Welsh Government to refocus on the service.’
Tim Thomas added
‘Police forces across Wales have had devastating cuts from the Tories, and if we want them to serve our communities effectively, they must be able to perform their primary function rather than fill in the gaps from an over stretched ambulance service.’