Figures suggest that ambulance crews have suffered a staff “exodus” over the past three years, with a surge in layoffs.
The number of staff who quit across ten NHS services in England and Wales rose 51 per cent from 4,609 in 2019 to 6,968 in 2022.
Ambulance delays last winter were the worst on record, with even stroke and heart attack patients waiting over an hour for help to arrive.
Many crews went on strike earlier in the year in protest at working conditions.
Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper said: “The shortage of NHS staff has caused immeasurable pain to millions of people across the country.”
“With patients struggling to get to a GP at the front door of the NHS and not having access to social care at the back door, emergency services find themselves in a difficult situation.”
The LibDem study found that there are 2,954 vacancies in England’s ten ambulance services.
In some areas almost every fifth position was vacant.
Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said: “The pressure on rescue workers is unbearable with the services being stretched.
“Congestion of 999 calls and endless queues outside emergency departments have caused them to burn out.
“It’s no wonder so many decide they’ve had enough.”