Winter is always a difficult time for the NHS – but this year, the knock-on effects of the pandemic mean that the limits on its capacity may be dangerously exposed. New figures published on Thursday revealed that a record 5.8 million people are waiting for hospital treatment, and that the proportion of A&E patients seen within the NHS’s target of four hours was the lowest since the current records began in January 2010. Meanwhile, occupancy of wards has already hit its expected winter peak.

Nowhere are these problems more obvious than in the ambulance service. A shortage of beds for arriving patients means that paramedics who once completed seven or eight jobs on a shift are now forced to wait in queues outside A&E units, “babysitting” their charges instead of moving on to new cases who sometimes wait for hours before they hear the siren that signals help is at hand. The most urgent calls now wait an average of nearly 54 minutes – up from 45 minutes in September. For less urgent calls, the average is upwards of three hours – and it can be much longer. The College of Paramedics has called the situation “unacceptable”, saying “patients are waiting too long and that is putting them at risk”.

To understand how these grim figures play out on the ground, the Guardian’s Steven Morris went out on a shift in south Wales with Lee Davies, a paramedic, and Keith Rogers, an emergency medical technician (EMT). In this episode, Morris tells Nosheen Iqbal the story of that shift – and the patients kept waiting for hours to get the healthcare they need. And we follow Davies and Rogers as they describe their frustration while trying to get the job done in the most trying of circumstances.

You can read Steven Morris’s October piece: “You can queue for a whole shift”: the crisis facing Welsh ambulance crews, here. And you can read a story by Denis Campbell published on Thursday: NHS ambulance delays leaving patients stuck at GP surgeries for hours, here.

Paramedic Lee Davies (left) and technician Keith Rogers at Grange University Hospital near Pontypool.

Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/The Guardian

Source: A day with the paramedics on the frontline of the UK’s ambulance crisis – podcast

A day with the paramedics on the frontline of the UK’s ambulance crisis – podcast - Click To Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Other recent press releases

*This is a free press release. All upgraded press releases are ad-free!

Why The Dallas Cowboys Should Aim To Acquire Veteran Receiver

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be lacking depth at wide receiver entering the 2022 season. (Photo by … [+] Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images The Dallas Cowboys will enter the start of the 2022 regular season with one proven wide receiver on its roster. As the Cowboys look to carry the momentum they established during…

Pennsylvania’s Fetterman Released From Hospital After Stroke

LANCASTER, Pa.—Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate contest, has been released from the hospital after a stay of more than a week following a stroke, his wife and his campaign said Sunday. Fetterman, 52, won the Democratic nomination while in the hospital, easily beating U.S. Rep. Conor…