It has emerged that UK ambulances are struggling to reach the seriously ill and injured fast enough due to rising demand which has left NHS emergency trusts at breaking point.

Only one of the UK’s 13 ambulance trusts is meeting its target of reaching people with life-threatening conditions within 8 minutes. Delays waiting for A&E staff to be free to perform a patient handover amounted to 503,499 hours in 2015-2016 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – a rise of 52% in two years.

It has also been revealed that it is not uncommon for trusts to run out of ambulances to send at peak times. NHS ambulance trusts took 9.4m calls in 2015.

In the East Midlands, patients waited 1 minute and 42 seconds longer for an ambulance to arrive than in 2013-2014. The College of Paramedics chair Andrew Newton said the situation was of ‘great concern’.