Some of the country’s GP are advising patients requiring urgent hospital care to “get an Uber” or use a relative’s car because of the worst ever delays in the ambulance service in England.
Patients with breathing difficulties and other potentially serious conditions are being told in some cases that they are likely to be transferred more quickly from a general practice to accident and emergency if they travel by cab or private vehicle.
NHS England data shows that October’s average ambulance response times for category 1 to 3 emergencies, which cover all urgent conditions, appear to be the highest since the categories were introduced nationally in 2017. Some patients who require emergency treatment may have to wait several hours for an ambulance to arrive.
Dr Selvaseelan Selvarajah, a GP partner in east London, said: “If somebody is not having a heart attack or a stroke, my default advice is ‘have you got someone who can drive you or do you want to get an Uber?’
“These are patients who may have breathing difficulty or are suffering severe abdominal pain, but their life is not in immediate danger.” He said such patients would have previously been transferred by ambulance.
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Source: The Guardian, 27 November 2022