ALL ambulance services are on the highest black alert — amid record Covid cases and temperatures.
The emergency crisis level has been reached by the ten trusts of England, which means that there are long delays in responding to 999 calls.
Waits of up to 18 hours are reported as crews back up outside overloaded A&E departments.
Covid cases are estimated to have reached 351,000 per day, while an extreme heat alert has been extended.
All regional NHS ambulance trusts have been upgraded to REAP 4 alert. This is the first upgrade since January.
It is a sign that they are under extreme stress and is comparable to a hospital black alert.
Dr Nick Scriven (ex-president of the Society for Acute Medicine) warned: “Patients with less serious illnesses will face longer waits as the most sick patients are prioritised.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting added: “Patients are left for far longer than is safe and lives are being lost.”
According to the NHS: “Near-record levels of 999 calls, challenges discharging patients to social care, increasing Covid cases leading to more than 20,000 staff absences and the heatwave are having an impact.”