An irate woman interrupted a live broadcast with Health Secretary Steve Barclay, accusing him of doing “nothing” to reduce ambulance wait times.
She demanded to know why the government had done “nothing” about long waits for patients to get help despite the Conservatives being in power for twelve years.
The Cabinet minister was speaking to reporters outside Moorfields Eye Hospital in Old Street, central London when a woman interrupted him to say that ‘people have died’ while waiting for emergency services today.
It comes after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that patients at South Central Ambulance Service were subjected to ‘frequent and prolonged’ ambulance waits.
Several cases were highlighted in yesterday’s report, including one of an elderly patient who waited 14 hours on the floor for help after falling. In another instance, a lengthy delay contributed to the death of a patient who had fallen and became trapped beneath their bed.
The report’s authors stated that ‘delays in reaching people who had requested emergency assistance were frequent and prolonged.’
Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital gave Mr Barclay a tour of an operating theatre before he spoke to the press on the street outside.
However, during one of his interviews, he was confronted by a member of the public who asked, ‘Are you going to do anything about the ambulances waiting, and the people dying out?’
Mr Barclay replied: ‘Of course we are,’ but the woman continued: ‘Don’t you think 12 years is long enough?
‘Twelve years – you’ve done bugger all about it.’
‘People have died, and all you’ve done is nothing.’
She marched away from Mr Barclay after delivering the venomous words.
The heated exchange drew a lot of attention, with some dubbing the woman an “icon” for taking on the minister.
Mr Barclay later told the media that cutting ambulance wait times is an “absolute priority” for the government.
‘So there’s a range of issues within how we deliver on ambulances, but it’s an absolute priority both for the Government and for NHS England.’