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"lips must turn blue before an ambulance will come out"

(214 Posts)
lljkk Sun 26-Apr-20 09:09:15

I've heard that claim a few times, about probable cv19 cases not being allowed to go to hospital.

Is it true or just hyperbole? I think it might be a gross exaggeration. Does anyone have a link to a real named person or even an NHS staff person saying this has happened?

I'm happy to see a SAD face in tabloids where someone is willing to not anonymously say it happened to themself or their loved one or their patient. I can't even find a tabloid story like that, though.

OP’s posts: |
Northernsoullover Sun 26-Apr-20 09:10:43

This is concerning me too. I want to put this question to 'someone in charge'.

Fortheloveofscience Sun 26-Apr-20 09:15:12

Not true in my area - paramedics are trying to convince COVID patients with breathing difficulties into hospital, the issue is that often the patients are refusing and asking for treatment at home instead. But there's no more reason for you to believe me than the person that says they were denied an ambulance despite being on death's door - problem with an anonymous forum!

CaryStoppins Sun 26-Apr-20 09:16:17

If lots of people have reported it, it's probably true.
Ambulance service is massively overstretched, but hospitals aren't at the moment. Dispatchers have to prioritise.

Remember people were waiting hours for an ambulance even before the pandemic - the Tories cut services to the bone.

If you are seriously ill and can get to hospital by other means, best to do that.

Dozer Sun 26-Apr-20 09:19:30

Have you not personally experienced restriction of access to NHS hospital/specialist services?

I have, and close relatives have. Womens services, cancer, and mental health. Happens frequently.

The UK stats compared with European countries with higher investment in healthcare show worse outcomes here for a range of health conditions.

Not surprising if it’s happening now with Covid.

milkjetmum Sun 26-Apr-20 09:20:39

Nevermind the fact that some ethnicities will never show 'blue' lips the way a Caucasian would...

JoanieCash Sun 26-Apr-20 09:22:51

Miscommunication/understanding more likely: I think what’s asked by 111 as one of the many questions is “are the lips blue” and many others. The when it’s explained (for a combination of reasons) why perhaps an ambulance is not being sent an example of no ‘red flag’ symptoms might be their lips not blue. That then becomes “wont take to hospital because lips not blue”.

Dozer Sun 26-Apr-20 09:22:52

Often done on the premise of “clinical reasons” when in fact health professionals and others (eg receptionists, despatchers) are under high pressure to “gatekeep” services for which “demand” (requirement”) is higher than supply.

MRex Sun 26-Apr-20 09:23:11

I've seen one poster day out on multiple threads, and been quoted by multiple other posters. She has said it was what the paramedics told her young son. None of us can know exactly how it was put, they had examined her and said she was ok, so whether they were saying "obviously if this happens you must call 999 immediately" or "do not call 999 again unless this happens". However it was said, she and her son were scared, and the paramedics didn't reassure them.

BurningGubbins Sun 26-Apr-20 09:24:06

Yes, that is the experience in our household. Couldn’t speak more than 5-6 words without gasping for breath, lungs burning, but wasn’t turning blue, so we were left to it.

HRH2020 Sun 26-Apr-20 09:24:55

I have seen people reporting this on local mutual aid group just after lock down when things were pretty bad in London.

Bitofeverything Sun 26-Apr-20 09:26:33

Yes, that is the experience in our household. Couldn’t speak more than 5-6 words without gasping for breath, lungs burning, but wasn’t turning blue, so we were left to it.

I can see this is a horrible thing to go through and I’m sorry - but do you feel like you needed hospitalisation? And if you didn’t, what did you expect them to do?

CaryStoppins Sun 26-Apr-20 09:26:56

@BurningGubbins was there no one available to drive you to A&E though? I think I'd have got a taxi if no car.

Purplewithred Sun 26-Apr-20 09:26:57

Not true. They will take you in if hospital treatment can help you. However, just having Covid-19 symptoms does not mean it's worth going to hospital.

And the ambulance service round here is definitely not overstretched at the moment - call volumes are well down and they are hitting government targets for the first time ever.

If you are concerned, call. Too many people are leaving it too late, especially for non-Covid-19 conditions.

Springersrock Sun 26-Apr-20 09:27:01

My friend is a paramedic and I was chatting to her last night about this.

She says that in her experience, in our area, it’s not true.

She says the problem they have is people are not calling until they are having real problems breathing because they’re terrified of going into hospital.

trappedsincesundaymorn Sun 26-Apr-20 09:27:31

I can only speak from my own experience but when mum was ill the ambulance were with her 20 minutes after the initial 999 call (we live in a rural location so 20 minutes was damn quick). Mums lips were not blue but she was struggling to breathe. Maybe it was because it was around 8 am on a Sunday morning and it could have been a different story had it been later in the day.

Humphriescushion Sun 26-Apr-20 09:28:54

I have no direct experience however i definitely feel there are not enough people in hospitals, or they are admitted too late.

Daffodil101 Sun 26-Apr-20 09:34:34

There’s a good chance that the expected surge did not happen because we were prepared.

Some of the advice re admission to hospital might have been set in anticipation of that non-surge.

Baaaahhhhh Sun 26-Apr-20 09:34:46

Once again, as with PPE levels. These issues seem to be very area specific. I believe when this is all over, as with much of healthcare, we will find some hospital trusts and ambulances services handled the situation better than others. Some trusts are run badly, some well. Perhaps heads will roll at a local level. We tend to blame those at the top, but generally decisions are taken locally.

NoisyTwats Sun 26-Apr-20 09:38:47

Not sure about ambulance but I know the police are not coming out. I was home when I heard a noise and looked outside to see two men had climbed over my fence and were hoisting themselves up onto the flat roof on part of my house. I was terrified phoned 999 and I was told to keep doors and windows locked, watch the men 'from a safe distance'. They said they were too busy to send police out. The men eventually left but it was a terrifying experience and I worry about them coming back and the police not coming.

strawberry2017 Sun 26-Apr-20 09:41:51

@burninggubbins sorry but I find that very hard to believe.
If you were gasping for breath you would have either got an ambulance or been passed to a clinician for further assessment.
They wouldn't have just left you to it.

Chosennone Sun 26-Apr-20 09:45:03

My personal experience with DM was that they arribed within 20 minutes. Semi rural area. I made the 999 call and was told there could be a wait as there were several life threatening situations apparent.

I made it clear she had several of the underlying conditions and had only been discharged from hospital with Pneumonia 6 weeks earlier. They said she needed to be put on her side if coughing too much. We were amazed with 20 mins. Turned out not be C19 and she was admitted for a seperate issue.

Looneytune253 Sun 26-Apr-20 09:45:18

Not true at all. Since lockdown started I've had 3 ambulances out to my MIL (all within 10 mins) with breathing difficulties. Each time she was able to speak to them herself so not at the blue lips stage either.

BurningGubbins Sun 26-Apr-20 09:45:28

@bitofeverything It wasn’t me, it was my partner. He literally thought he was going to die, was trying to write goodbye letters to our children. Yes, we thought hospital was necessary.

@CaryStoppins no, no access to anyone close enough with a car, and were told not to get a taxi/public transport due to the infection risk. He wouldn’t have been able to get out into the street anyway. On a previous 111 call all agreed that an ambulance to hospital was needed and would be sent but it never came. A medic called every 4 hours to check what was happening while we were waiting and then cancelled the ambulance after 24 hours. Things got worse a few days later and 999 were called but that was the point they said no-one was going to come because it wasn’t bad enough. 6 weeks on he’s still having breathing difficulties and chest pains but we’re not even bothering to call anyone now.

Abreadsandwich Sun 26-Apr-20 09:45:41

There was a report on this on London news yesterday. A family called an ambulance once and they wouldnt take the man to hospital, and then a few days later they called again and they again said he was not unwell enough to be admitted, but they pleaded and showed how difficult it was for the patient to walk, and they agreed to take him.
I think the report said there had been some change in the criteria that had to be met before deeming someone ill enough to require hospital treatment.

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