More than half of ambulance workers have seen a patient die because of a delay in reaching them after a 999 call or overcrowding in A&E, a new survey has found.
The findings, from a survey of frontline paramedics and other ambulance staff, are another stark illustration of the patient safety risks created by the crisis in NHS urgent and emergency care.
“These findings are utterly terrifying,” said Rachel Harrison, the national secretary of the GMB union, which sought the views of more than 1,200 members working in NHS ambulance services in England and Wales.
It asked them if they had ever witnessed a death that had occurred because of a delay involving an ambulance or other part of the care system. Just over half (53%) said they had done so and another 30% were aware of it happening with a colleague.
The findings are disclosed in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary being shown this Thursday about how long delays in ambulance crews handing over patients to A&E staff, and thus being unable to respond quickly to 999 calls, are affecting both patients and staff.
“The delay and dilation of care that we see is just unconscionable,” Dr Adrian Boyle, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told the programme.
Source: The Guardian, 6 March 2023
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