Ambulances waiting outside for ’12 hours’ as hospitals ‘not allowing patients in due to bed crisis’
“They don’t even let us into the hospital with our patients, we’re expected to keep them in the back of the ambulance”, says one paramedic
(Manchester Evening News) – Ambulances have been waiting up to ’12 hours’ outside hospitals with gravely ill patients as wards struggle with a ‘bed crisis’, one paramedic has told the Manchester Evening News.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) staff are left treating patients with severe ‘sepsis’ and ‘smoke inhalation’ outside hospitals, with doctors having to attend them inside the ambulances as wards run out of beds, according to the NWAS paramedic.
Amid the scenes in recent weeks and months of ambulances queuing, the paramedic says the number of emergency calls is ‘phenomenal’, with hundreds going without an ambulance in Greater Manchester.
After the paramedic came forward with her story, Greater Manchester health bosses have admitted the health system is under ‘exceptional’ pressure right now.
“They don’t even let us into the hospital with our patients, we’re expected to keep them in the back of the ambulance,” said the paramedic.
“The staff come out, they might do bloods on the back of the ambulance, a doctor might come out and assess them on the back of the ambulance.
“So, the bed status is the biggest thing that we hear about, but we also know that because hospitals are struggling with staff shortages, [the hospitals are] basically using the ambulances and the crews as an extension of their department.
“It’s ridiculous, honestly. There can be 17 ambulances parked up at any one time, and that’s at one hospital.
“We have had people who have been flagging with red flag sepsis, they have been left outside. They’re poorly.
“I took a smoke inhalation after a house fire down to Royal Oldham, they waited under the canopy for six-and-a-half hours, outside. He was on oxygen throughout, we were basically pinching oxygen cylinders off each other’s vehicles to keep him oxygenated.”
Hospitals across the region are having to ‘divert’ patients to units seeing less demand, adds the paramedic, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The ‘divert’ system is a ‘well-established’ method of managing busy hospitals, according to regional health bosses.
‘Diverts’ are done through a ’24/7 operational hub’ with access to live information from the different hospitals across Greater Manchester, helping the system to ‘react to issues quickly’ and prevent pressures ‘before they arise’.
The system ‘excludes people in extreme clinical need’.