The health service has hit its annual winter crisis.
16,900 people had to wait in ambulances for hospital care in Christmas week. 4,700 of those had to wait in an ambulance for more than hour to be seen. Media images of five, ten, fifteen ambulances queueing outside A&E departments have become common.
An 81 year old woman in Essex was found dead in her home when an ambulance arrived four hours after her initial 999 call. In Portsmouth an 88 year old woman died after five hours in an ambulance and two hours on a trolley waiting for a hospital bed.