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For years ambulance services have been under pressure but since 2020 this is an issue regularly reported in the news. The situation with the ambulance service has gone from being a risk of harm to actually being a cause of harm. HSIB (Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) have suggested that harm is a daily occurrence now.  A report that is frightening for anyone who does or might need the service.

Last week the BBC reported on a heart-breaking case of an elderly man in his 90s that was left for hours following 3 calls for an ambulance after he had fallen alone at home. When he was eventually found on his bedroom floor he could not be saved and later passed away. Why was he left so long? The transcripts explain the ambulance service was just too busy and there just wasn’t an ambulance for him. He told them in the 3rd call that he knew that he was fading and if they didn’t come soon, he would die.

In the BBC’s report they describe the reasons for the grave problem:

  • Demand on the service
  • Delays in handover when ambulances are waiting on arrival at hospital
  • Delays in discharging patients so there is no space for new ones.

The government are putting money into the ambulance service countrywide, and they say there are 40% more paramedics than in 2010. When I read this, I just can’t help thinking it’s not good enough and we all deserve more. Even more money is needed; even more paramedics are needed, and they need to get organised and collaborate with the hospital Trusts. We can see, from the scenes on the 10 o’clock news of ambulances queuing at the hospital entrance, that the system is broken, and it just isn’t good enough. We deserve more and we should demand more! Our elderly do not deserve to drift away alone and frightened on their bedroom floor.

How can we demand more? We complain and bring every case of harm to the attention of those that can make a change. One of the ways of doing that is by bringing a medical negligence claim when you have suffered.

If you, or someone you love has suffered harm as a result of the unacceptable ambulance delays and would like to speak to one of our experts in medical negligence please get in touch. We would be pleased to hear from you.

 

Lydia Brindley, Legal Director

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As reported by the Independent, Ambulance delays continue to put patients at undue risk. It is estimated that approximately 12,000 patients a year could be suffering severe harm as a result of Ambulance delays and long waits outside Accident & Emergency. It is estimated that 1 in 10 patients could suffer severe harm, such as a cardiac arrest, loss of a limb or brain damage.

The systemic problems within the health and social care system were highlighted in a report published by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), expressing that there is a lack of capacity and staff to meet rising patient demand.

The AACE report concluded that “unacceptable levels of preventable harm are being caused to patients”. The report also warned that these issues had been highlighted in 2012 and not enough had been done to resolve or at least reduce the issues.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).”

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It is natural to assume that if you required emergency medical care, that an ambulance would be available to attend and assist you. However, The Independent has recently reported that Ambulance Trusts are becoming increasingly dependent on private ambulances to respond to 999 calls, with concerns being raised about the vetting and training of staff in their employment.

In the case of a medical emergency, time is of the essence and it is vital that the right treatment is given at the right time. Delays in receiving treatment can have serious consequences for patients and their loved ones.

If you have concerns about delays in treatment that you have received, you can contact Graystons for further advice. Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors can provide further details about making a complaint to the treatment provider, as well as discussing funding options available to you and whether you may be able to fund any legal action under a “no win, no fee agreement”.