A video shared on Twitter (scroll down for footage) shows a queue of at least 18 West Midlands Ambulance Service vehicles waiting to book their patients into A&E.
The video, uploaded by Labour Councillor and Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, Adam Aston, has been captioned with:
‘Imagine being an ambulance person, working 11 hours and 50 minutes of your 12-hour shift, arriving at a hospital to find that you’re 18th in the queue to be able to take your patient inside. Yea ….. that.’
At the back of the line, the emergency ambulance crew could expect a wait of up to eleven hours before being able to hand their patient over.
Under NHS guidance, emergency ambulance handovers should be completed within 15 minutes.
But about two-thirds of A&Es polled by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) recently indicated they were struggling to meet the benchmark every day.
The Department of Health said that extra funding is being provided to ‘boost staff numbers in critical areas.’
However, it is hard to see how this ‘extra funding’ has in any way sorted the serious issue out.
Recently, a patient died following a cardiac arrest after waiting in an ambulance for 30 minutes outside a hospital’s emergency department.
The patient, who has not been named, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on 29th November.
A statement from the hospital – released shortly after the incident – said the patient had a suspected infection and was assessed and treated by a doctor in the back of the ambulance.
The hospital said: “Our deepest condolences are with the family.”
In the statement, the hospital said that the night in question was “a very busy night for our hospital”.
It said: “We were alerted by the ambulance service of a patient arriving by ambulance at our emergency department with a suspected infection.
“On arrival the patient was immediately assessed and treated by an emergency doctor, but after 30 minutes went into cardiac arrest and was transferred from the ambulance to our resuscitation unit for further treatment where they sadly died.”
Last month, a patient suffered a fatal heart attack in the back of an emergency ambulance after it queued for more than two hours outside James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, Norfolk.
And in another incident, a patient died in an ambulance outside Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge after waiting for more than an hour.
Responding to the video, one Twitter user said: ‘And as a result of this, the police are routinely dispatched to deal with medical matters.
‘So not only are there no ambulances available to attend calls, there aren’t any police either.’
Another Twitter user added: ‘My son had tonsillitis last month.
‘The doctors told us that they wouldn’t see us and told us to go to A&E, I told them that was rediculous, ended up just giving him pain relief and letting him suffer for a week.’
One front-line ambulance crew member said: ‘Unfortunately a symptom of a very stretched system.
‘Everyone needs to work to keep everyone, including staff, safe at the moment.’
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