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"If we are queuing, we can't get to patients"

Paramedics describe a health service in crisis with a lack of investment and increasing demand, of lengthy waits to transfer patients to hospitals and of a social care system facing collapse. So what does a typical ambulance shift look like?

The area covered by the East of England Ambulance Service's nearly 400 front-line ambulances is vast.

In 2020-21, the service received nearly 1.2 million 999 calls.

Ed Wisken has been a paramedic for 13 years.

An advanced paramedic specialising in urgent care, Mr Wisken says: "It is really sad to see patients who have had to wait such a long time for an ambulance - but this is just the culmination of years of underfunding and of reduced resources peaking now where demand outstrips supply."

"It is upsetting to see it," he says. "It is not nice to see people who have been waiting hours and hours for an ambulance - but we have really hit crisis point now."

He says the morale of fellow paramedics and other healthcare workers is currently very low.

"The key is you just have to do just one job at a time and just take the patients that you see and do the best for them," he says.

"If you worry about the bigger picture too much you will get frustrated and angry - but that's not going to be beneficial for yourself or your patients."

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Source: BBC News, 21 November 2022


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