The number of calls for an ambulance in England have almost doubled since 2010, with warnings of record pressures on the NHS that are seeing A&E patients stuck in corridors and many paramedics quitting the job.
Ambulance calls have risen by 10 times more than the number of ambulance workers, according to a new analysis of NHS data carried out by the GMB union. An increase in people seeking emergency treatment, GPs unable to cope with demand and cuts to preventive care are all being blamed for the figures.
While the figures represent all calls for an ambulance, some of which go unanswered and do not lead to a vehicle being sent, they reveal the increasing pressures that have led to claims that patient safety is being put at risk by ambulance waiting times. There has been a significant increase in the number of the most serious safety incidents logged by paramedics in England over the past year.
Paul, a paramedic and GMB deputy branch secretary, said he had recently seen a crew waiting almost 10 hours between arriving at hospital and transferring a patient to hospital care. “They arrived at the hospital at 20.31,” he said. “They then cleared from the hospital at 05.48 in the morning. The impact of the lack of resources is affecting the ambulance service.
“We are also seeing people become aggressive to the ambulance crew, because they’ve waited hours upon hours in an ambulance."
Source: The Guardian, 12 June 2022