Success And Waiting

Thanks folks you have successfully bullied my mum into going to the doctor.  She’s going to use Cheryl’s suggestion of blaming it all on me, and I’m currently educating her into not accepting ‘no’ for an answer from the doctor.

Gotta love the power of the internet…

Seriously – thanks.

Normal service is now resumed

Last night was a pretty strange one, in that I wasn’t massively busy – I only had eight jobs, but instead I spent most of my time standing around in patient’s houses waiting for an ambulance.

For various reasons, the manning of the ambulances last night was particularly poor – there was no night ambulances out of my station, and across the sector I heard the rumour that there was only ten ambulances running.

So the pattern for the night was that I would turn up to a patient, and then spend 30–45 minutes waiting for a crew to take the patient to hospital.  This isn’t a problem when dealing with a maternataxi ( patient’s first baby, pains started two hours ago, contraction pains of about 20 seconds every 15 minutes with membranes intact) who when I told them how long they would be waiting for an ambulance decided that driving themselves would be a better plan.

But with someone who is ill, those 50 minutes (I know, I timed it) seem to stretch.

In this case it was an elderly man with lung cancer who was having real difficulty in breathing.  his oxygen levels were 75% (they should be 95% or higher) and he was struggling to get oxygen to his brain.  Unfortunately there was nothing that I could do for him treatment wise apart from give him oxygen, and try to reassure him and his family.

It’s a bit hard to reassure a patient when the only word you understand is ‘bish’, which means ‘pain’, and he is using that word a lot.

Thankfully his family were on hand to translate, and they were incredibly patient and understanding about the long wait to get their father to hospital.  The oxygen that I was giving him seemed to help settle him a bit, but at one point he emptied my oxygen cylinder, so I had to nip back down to the car for a replacement.

So, not a busy night, just a bit of a hard one in places.

14 thoughts on “Success And Waiting”

  1. Yay for parents STILL not being able to resist Pester Power…but a 50 minute wait for an ambulance doesn't sound good at all. I mean he would have been a fairly high priority, yeah?

  2. Mothers all over the world are the same and hope she's alright.I'm curious now. You have 8 minutes to get to a call, but a patient who really needs to get to hospital could be waiting up to 50 minutes for an ambulance?

    If you get there in 5 minutes, is it still counted as a success even if the ambulance is delayed? And what happens if, despite your best efforts, the patient dies as a result of the wait?

  3. Lets put it like this…The government would count it as a success, but I don't think the LAS would.

    So my getting there in under 8 minutes turned that job into a 'success'.

    Awful, I know.

  4. He was top priority, which is why I went.(saying that, the “I'm going to have a baby in 16 hours” maternataxi was also as high a priority…)

    We tend to make more things as high priority than underprioritise.

  5. I concur with Pat. I've been putting off going back to the doctor's on the grounds that “Well, I'm so much better than I was”, even though I'm far from well. So, thanks to your mum for that.Snoop

  6. Not my fault if you get flatulence then:-)No honest if I've said something wrong (and my post was deleted) I'd like to know

  7. Actually, the 8 minutes for the first response is just one of the measures the LAS is rated against. There is also a requirement to get an ambulance, capable to transport the patient to hospital in a clinically safe manner, within 14 minutes, so this call wouldn't have been counted a success by the government on all measures.Michael.

  8. Yes, most managers are focussed on the 8 minute measure for category A (life-threatening) calls.Our commissioners, i.e. the London health area managers who pay us to provide emergency ambulance services and who monitor our performance, as well as the Healthcare Commission, who award us our “stars” every year, are very interested in all our performance measures.

    The main measures are the category A first response within 8 minutes and an ambulance within 14 minutes, for category B (an emergency, but probably not life-threatening) an ambulance within 14 minutes, for category C (not really an emergency) an ambulance or a call back within 30 minutes. There is also a requirement to get the patient to hospital no more than 15 minutes late for GP urgent calls, i.e. where a doctor asks for urgent transport to hospital for a patient, giving a specific time when they should be where (usually within two or three hours).

    Apart from that, several other things are considered when the performance of English ambulance trusts is assessed. Among these are the survival rate after cardiac arrest, pain management, financial management, risk management, thrombolysis (we don't do that in London) and even staff related indicators. Look at


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