East of England Ambulance Services Face 20 Hours Delay
Ambulance services are now taking longer than before to get to some patients. According to a staff member, the East of England Ambulance Service is taking up to 20hrs to get to some non-critical patients.
Unison said that ambulance staff were being “battered” and “put through the wringer”, while the NHS trust has said that this is its worst of pressures it has faced in years. This has made them not respond to some non-emergency calls.
According to sources, the service has been at "Surge White" for the past month, the highest alert level. The chief executive of the trust Tom Abell said: "We are currently experiencing some of the most significant and sustained pressures in recent years."
The spokesperson for the Trust said that it had a protocol called Emergency Operations Centre Standard Operating Procedure (ESOP) 48 where they activate a temporary suspension of sending ambulances to category 3 and category 4 calls. These decisions according to him were made on a clinical basis.
One staff mentioned that aside from the high volume of calls, the service is also struggling with high staff sickness levels which had led to gaps in rotas. Across the entire trust, the official sickness absence rate is currently almost 4% but the source said that it had risen to 12% in some areas.
It is also said that colleagues were too tired to take up a £25 per hour offer in overtime payments to cover selected shifts. The document offering the terms of payment also includes an undertaking that the staff will not go off sick for a fixed period.
'Staff Are Verbally Abused'
Staff at the control room have also been struggling to respond to the high volume of emergency calls. One worker said that they constantly call back patients who are waiting to tell time that they do not require ambulance services or that they should come down to the hospital due to the delays in a bid to reduce call volume to a non-critical level.
Sadly, "Every shift control room staff are sworn at and verbally abused by callers demanding ambulances which are not available because they spend as many as five hours in long queues outside A&E waiting to unload", - the staff said.
Another member of staff bemoaned the high number of 999 calls who wanted ambulances for non-serious conditions. Adding that in some shifts, only 2 out of 20 callers actually needed an ambulance service.
He said that people were abusing the ambulance service using it as a taxi service.
'Risk Averse' Culture
Also, one employee was critical of GP surgeries and NHS 111 providers who he feels were taking up ambulance resources unnecessarily.
They portray a "risk averse" culture where an ambulance was being requested for trivial issues. He said, "I get verbally abused every shift when 111 call handlers tell relatives that they are sending an ambulance to the patient's address, then they pass the details to 999 who call back to say they don't need an ambulance attendance "
He added that "GP services tell patients that they can't have an appointment for two weeks, but tell them to call 999 instead for trivial injuries or medication issues that neither 999 or A&E can resolve."
IC 24, one of the main providers of NHS 111 services in the eastern England, said it is at the third lowest rate for dispatching ambulances to non-urgent calls in the country.
Its Chief Operating Officer, Dr Rab McEwan said that IC24 supports the Ambulance Service of the East of England at this time of immense pressure on paramedic services and encouraged the public to make use of other alternative non-emergency services such as the 111 service."
Making Ambulance Negligence Claims Against The NHS
The law empowers you to make claims if you have suffered unnecessarily as a result of medical negligence. You can make NHS negligence claims or ambulance negligence claims if you have had to experience delays before you were attended to.
However, this is only if there is an avoidable injury, harm or complication to the patient due to the negligent delay. This is why you need the services of expert NHS negligence solicitors who will listen to you and make critical evaluation of the case to determine if you have a claim and if you do will support you in every way you require to get justice for the wrong done to you.
At NHS negligence claims, you can consult us and subsequently make your claims without any fear of legal fees or financial risks through our No Win No Fee policy. You can be rest assured that your claims will be handled professionally for the best possible outcome.
Our solicitors have been doing this for years, helping clients get justice and seeing that they are adequately compensated; therefore, do not delay in reaching out to us via our helplines to make your claims.