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Ambulance waits putting disabled children's lives at risk, doctors warn

Thousands of severely disabled children's lives are at risk because of long waits for ambulances, doctors and other experts have warned.

Emergency care is a vital part of their everyday lives, the British Academy of Childhood Disability says. 

Almost 100,000 children have life-limiting conditions or need regular ventilator support in the UK. They often rely on ambulances as part of their healthcare plan, because their condition can become life-threatening in an instant.

Dr Toni Wolff, who chairs the British Academy of Childhood Disability, told BBC News some families with severely disabled children had "what are essentially high-dependency units" of medical equipment at home.

"As part of their healthcare plan, we would normally say, 'If the child starts to deteriorate, call for an ambulance and it will be there within 10 or 20 minutes,'" she said.

"Now, we can't give that reassurance."

Despite their child being classed as a priority, parents have told BBC News they face the difficult decision to wait for an ambulance or take them, often in a life-threatening condition, to hospital themselves - a risk because of the huge amounts of equipment needed to keep them alive,

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Source: BBC News, 16 February 2023


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