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Paramedics warn of avoidable deaths as emergencies wait for hours for help

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Hundreds of people a day across London are waiting hours for an emergency ambulance to get to them, as paramedics warn that patients are dying as a result of delays.

Patients in emergency calls classified as category two, such as those involving a suspected stroke or chest pains, should be seen by paramedics within an average of 18 minutes but are being forced in some cases to wait up to 10 hours.

Even life-threatening calls where patients are in cardiac arrest and should be reached within seven minutes have experienced delays, with data suggesting one such call was waiting 20 minutes on Monday.

Internal data shared with The Independent shows that London Ambulance Service is holding hundreds of open 999 calls for hours at a time with the service’s boss acknowledging in an email to staff that the service is struggling to maintain standards. Experts warned that the problems in the capital were reflected in ambulance services across the country.

One paramedic told The Independent: “Patients desperately requiring ambulances aren’t getting them and, anecdotally, people are deteriorating and dying whilst waiting. Our poor dispatchers have to stare at screens of held calls, working out who gets the next available resource and who waits, suffers or dies.”

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Source: The Independent, 5 January 2021

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