Ambulance waits: The conditions most affected – ‘These people need treatment ASAP’

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Kanani said those most at risk were: “People calling emergency services for time critical issues that require immediate responses, such as those experience a cardiac arrest, asthma attack, anaphylactic shock.

“These people need treatment ASAP and if there are no trained experts or access to equipment nearby, lives will be lost. In the case of time critical illnesses that are not attended to quick enough, lives will be lost.”

Kanani said that it “comes down to funding and how much more the government can put towards healthcare” adding “the system is streamlined in order to deal with emergencies in order of priority (i.e. those that are not breathing or conscious will be prioritized), but if there are not enough staff on duty, wait times will be longer”.

It’s a combination of factors from patient numbers to staff and cuts from Government; there is no one reason why ambulance waits are so high; one place the blame can’t be put is on the ambulance staff themselves.

Although waves of criticism have been levied at them, health experts say the ambulance personnel are doing what they can with the high work load they have.

Speaking anonymously to BBC Newsnight, one paramedic said: “We’re right on the fringe of collapse right now.

“People are phoning and being told that they’re not going to get an ambulance for six or nine hours…that is happening pretty much every shift.”

The paramedic continued: “It would be wrong to say that there are times when I haven’t shed a tear… for the people we haven’t been able to help because it’s been too late.

“They may have died anyway but there are definitely cases that I’ve been to where we should have been to them sooner and less harm would have come to them.”

It goes without saying the ambulance service is considered by many to be in crisis, one which if not solved, could result in more lives being lost.

The solution to said crisis is unclear.

What has the Government said?

In a statement, a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We recognise the pressure NHS staff are under, especially those on the front line.

“The NHS has allocated £150m of additional funding to address pressures on ambulance services, with the number of ambulance and support staff increasing by almost 40 percent since February 2010.

“We have supported NHS bodies and local authorities with updated hospital-discharge guidance to ensure smooth discharges across the health and social care sectors and have been clear that they should adopt processes that best meet the needs of the local population.”

Conditions that require treatment ASAP.

Recognition the symptoms of the following conditions can help in your decision to contact the emergency services.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says the symptoms of a cardiac arrest are:

• Unconscious
• Unresponsive
• Won’t be breathing normally.

Symptoms of an asthma attack are:

  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • A tight test
  • Coughing.

Symptoms of anaphylactic shock – also known as anaphylaxis:

  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Clammy skin
  • Confusion and anxiety
  • Collapsing or losing consciousness.

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