Patients have been left waiting up to 65 hours for an ambulance in England – while one patient waited in the back of an ambulance for 40 hours outside A&E.

Data collected by Labour from Freedom of Information requests show long waits for ambulances and people waiting hours outside hospitals waiting to be admitted to A&E this winter.

Half of NHS ambulance trusts in England responded to the request, and worst waiting times included:

• A patient in the North West who waited 65 hours, 38 minutes and 13 seconds in December for a response to a category 3 call – urgent but not immediately life-threatening and should be reached within two hours in 90% of cases

• Waits after category 2 calls – which can include heart attack and stroke victims – in the West Midlands and Yorkshire included patients left waiting for more than 21 hours instead of the 18-minute target

• A category 2 in the East Midlands was more than 26 hours in December – the longest wait for such serious symptoms

• One patient who waited 40 hours in the back of an ambulance outside a hospital in the South West due to staff and bed shortages

• A patient in the East of England with an almost 36-hour wait

• Another in the West Midlands who had to wait for 32 hours in the back of an ambulance

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: "Patients can no longer trust that an ambulance will reach them in an emergency.

"Stroke and heart attack victims are left waiting for hours, when every second counts."

NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said the figures show last winter was "one of the toughest on record for the NHS" and the government’s long-term workforce plan "cannot come a minute too soon".

On average, people waiting for a category 2 response in December waited one hour, 32 minutes and 54 seconds, the NHS England data showed.

Meanwhile, 36,000 category 2 patients waited for ambulances for more than three and a half hours in December.

January saw a big improvement, with the average response time reducing to 39 minutes and 33 seconds – but that was still much higher than the 18-minute target.

But from 1 December to 28 February, 129,023 people waited more than an hour in ambulances outside hospitals.

Mr Streeting added: "This is the terrifying reality after 13 years of Conservative understaffing of our NHS.

"Patients should be able to phone 999, safe in the knowledge that they will get an answer and an ambulance when they need it. The longer we keep the Conservatives in office, the longer patients will wait.

"Labour will launch the biggest expansion of the NHS workforce in history, training the staff needed to reach patients on time, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status. We will ensure the NHS is there for us when we need it once again."

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NHS Providers chief executive Sir Julian Hartley said: "Trust leaders will be very concerned by these wait times as ensuring timely, high-quality care for patients is their top priority.

"The causes of long ambulance waits are complex. High demand – always at its worst in winter – along with overstretched capacity and vast workforce shortages all contribute."

A Conservative Party spokesman accused Labour of "throwing stones in glass houses" and said the party should "start fixing the mess they have made in Wales".

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: "No one should have to wait longer than necessary to access urgent and emergency care and we are working hard to improve ambulance waiting times, which have substantially reduced from the peak of winter pressures in December 2022.

"Our Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan will allow people to be seen quicker by scaling up community teams, expanding virtual wards, and getting 800 new ambulances on the road.

"This is on top of £750m we have provided this winter to speed up hospital discharge and free up beds."

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