The number of hours ambulances invested waiting to unload patients in parts of England is “off the scale”, the Royal College of Emergency situation Medicine says.
Information leaked to BBC News shows ambulance waiting times at medical facilities in the South East rose by 36% in December compared to the very same month in 2019.
One patient in London was left waiting outside over night with a broken leg.
Ambulance services state it is taking longer to turn over clients but they are doing all they can to satisfy need.
It comes as ambulance services and hospitals face unmatched pressure because of the Covid pandemic.
‘ On its knees’
A paramedic working in London informed BBC News he has come across clients left waiting up to 12 hours for an ambulance in the last week.
He says the male with a broken leg was left outside over night for around six hours in an ambulance.
On another occasion, paramedics were called to attend to a young man with Covid-19 whose oxygen levels were “so low”. He was given oxygen immediately – but was left at home for around eight hours.
The paramedic states the incidents were “dangerous” and the service is “on its knees”.
The figures also reveal that at one point on Monday today more than 700 patients were left waiting for an ambulance to get here in London when none was available.
On Tuesday, a client with what is classified as a Classification One emergency situation, indicating their condition was life threatening, waited more than 70 minutes for an ambulance.
Callouts for such seriously unhealthy patients ought to take 7 minutes usually.
Various statistics obtained by BBC News highlight the variety of hours invested waiting to unload patients at hospitals half an hour after ambulances got to hospitals in the South East.
‘ Various magnitude’
South East Coast Ambulance service lost 7,803 hours queuing outside healthcare facilities, a boost on 5,732 hours in 2019.
Kent saw the greatest rise in this period. Among its healthcare facilities, Medway Maritime Medical facility, saw a doubling in ambulance waiting times.
These figures are “off the scale”, according to Royal College of Emergency Medication Vice President Adrian Boyle.
” It is not because more ambulances are being called, it’s because the quantity of time they’re spending outside a medical facility has actually increased,” he said.
Dr Boyle says ambulances left queuing outdoors health centers indicated teams were not readily available to react to other emergency situations.
He says services are facing a “crisis” unlike any other he has seen.
” Individuals might feel they have a winter crisis every year however this is a various order of magnitude”, he included.
” This is the worst winter season crisis I’ve been through in my 25 years of practising as a medical professional.”
Ambulance services say they are doing whatever they can to fulfill the demand.
A London Ambulance Service Trust representative said: “We are continuing to prioritise the most seriously ill and injured patients, and our group of qualified clinicians in our control rooms are striving to monitor and keep contact with lots of other patients as needed while they are waiting on ambulance teams to arrive.”
A South East Coast Ambulance Service Trust representative stated: “We are doing everything we can to increase the variety of staff readily available to fulfill this need, consisting of increasing overtime, to make sure teams are as available as possible to respond to patients in the community.”
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