A controversial policy of asking emergency ambulance crews to make additional stops on the way to hospital whilst already with a patient on board, could leave patients stuck “for hours on end” according to an anonymous paramedic working with the Trust.
East of England Ambulance Service said that the new scheme, first reported yesterday in The Guardian was “absolutely right”.
A spokesman for the trust told reporters that emergency ambulance crews would only be diverted whilst en-route to the hospital where the first patient already on board the ambulance was ‘clinically’ stable.
No reference was made in relation to what would happen if the ‘stable’ patient deteriorated whilst the ambulance made the de-tour.
Many people will probably not be entirely happy with the prospect of potentially sharing an ambulance with someone who is embattled in a fight for their life.
The East of England Ambulance Service is currently the worst performing when it comes to meeting various response times.
A paramedic has reportedly told the BBC that the policy was ‘putting crews in a difficult position’.
The unnamed paramedic said: “Each ambulance only carries one set of monitoring equipment so it would be difficult to continue to monitor both patients at the same time”.
“In many situations we can’t convey the patient quickly to hospital once we’ve assessed them either because we’d have to wait for back up.
“This could be a number of hours and means the first patient could be waiting on someone’s driveway in the ambulance for hours on end,” he said.
But the trust’s medical director, Dr Tom Davis also told the BBC: “There are rare situations where a crew who are transporting a clinically stable patient may be passing close by to a life threatening category one incident.
“It is absolutely right that the crew are contacted to assess if it is clinically safe for the patient on board, if the crew were to stop at the incident and give immediate lifesaving care before the arrival of the next closest ambulance or car,” he added.
One scenario that I could image would be a nightmare for all concerned is lets say, for example, that an ambulance is transporting a ‘non-critical’ patient to hospital when a call then comes in for the crew to respond to a stabbing victim.
Imagine that the ambulance then has to divert on blues-and-two to the scene that has been secured by the police.
What is the non-critical patient supposed to do whilst the ambulance crew treats the critical patient?
What happens when the critical patient is put in the back of the ambulance and both ambulance crew members need to work on the critical patient?
What about if there is suddenly a hostile crowd and the ambulance starts coming under attack?
What about continuity of evidence if the critical patient then passes away – will the non-critical patient now have to attend the coroners court as a witness?
Will the non-critical patient be offered counselling having seen someone fight for their life in the back of an ambulance?
What happens if the non-critical patient decides to start ‘live streaming’ on social media as the medics try to save the critical patients life?
Why not, instead, just invest in more medics and more ambulances!?
EEAS serves six million people across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Last month its chief executive Robert Morton resigned following years of criticism over staffing shortages, emergency response times and ambulance delays.
Written by one of the many admins of Emergency Services Humour who is also a regular blogger in our fortnightly eMagazine ’S__ts & Giggles’ which you can sign up to by visiting our Facebook page and clicking on the ‘sign up’ button or by visiting: ShitsAndGiggles.Online
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