It is really quite simple – there aren’t enough ambulances to meet demand, why there aren’t takes a little more thought (but not much).
Take for example this story about a cyclist waiting two hours to go to hospital, and then needing a helicopter to pick them up.
A cyclist who broke his hip in an accident was forced to spend two hours lying on the roadside before being transported in the back of a furniture van flagged down by police because there were no ambulances available.
“I was there for a long time – two hours – and in a lot of pain because I have a low resting heartbeat which means I couldn’t be given morphine. It was raining and I was getting really cold and shivery.
“Eventually more paramedics arrived with blankets but I was still lying on the roadside and I was told I wasn’t even on the waiting list for an ambulance because there was a shortage.
“The paramedics were really kind and professional and caring but they were all saying this was ludicrous and down to budget cuts.”
In despair, the paramedics called for an air ambulance but were told the nearest one, in Essex, couldn’t take off because of high winds. A second helicopter from Norfolk was scrambled but couldn’t land in the road because of safety problems so had to touch down a mile away from Mr Knight.
“A policeman flagged down a passing furniture van driver and asked him to take me,” said Mr Knight.
Now add in the recent report showing that there just aren’t enough beds in hospital, and if there are enough beds then patients coming into the emergency department can’t be sent to the wards. This means the the emergency department gets full and they haven’t the room to take a patient off of an ambulance stretcher. This means the ambulance spends longer waiting and can’t turnaround for another call.
The number of people left waiting in ambulances outside accident and emergency (A&E) departments for more than half an hour has risen by over 100,000 in just two years, raising fears over the NHS’s ability to safely achieve the government’s aim of £20bn in efficiency savings.
Realise that ‘efficiency savings’ in real english is ‘cuts‘.
So, not enough beds means that ambulances have to wait longer to get clear of hospitals which results in increased waiting times for ambulances.The solution to this problem is apparently to close some emergency departments so that waiting times will get longer.
The results of a public consultation on the closure of four hospital accident and emergency units in north-west London have been released. The findings show support for ending services at Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing.
I despair, I honestly do.