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Crowded A&Es mean Scottish paramedics play the waiting game

Paramedic Moira Shaw is eyeing the frantic activity at the front doors of Edinburgh's emergency department.

She is waiting for the go-ahead to hand over her patients to medics and answer the next 999 call. It can be a long wait.

Last week, 1 in 10 ambulances across Scotland took more than 80 minutes to drop patients at an emergency department.

BBC Scotland joined Moira and colleague Blair Paul at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where they were among seven ambulances waiting to drop off patients.

"At the moment we can be an hour waiting, we sit in the ambulance and we wait until there is a space to go in," explains Moira, who has been with the service for nearly a decade.

"This is pretty much an everyday occurrence now.

"It's that domino effect, so if patients are waiting to move to other areas, A&E gets clogged up and they can't take any more patients in because they are waiting to move people on."

Moira said she has noticed they are attending more calls where people have not been able to get through to their GP so phone 999 instead.

Another theme picked up by Moira and her colleague Blair is helping younger sicker patients who need urgent hospital treatment.

"I've seen actually quite a lot of people maybe in their 40 or 50s who have got now stage four cancer and they've just not been able to get access to any treatments or anything just due to the pressures on the NHS at the moment," explained Blair.

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Source: BBC News, 11 May 2022


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