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There is no ambulance service anymore

550 replies

Snog · 24/09/2022 08:00

Twice so far this year NHS111 have told me that my dd needs paramedics to attend for severe chest and abdominal pain and that they are on their way.

Both times the ambulance service called me later and said they would not be attending that night as too busy.

I am posting this because I want people to know that there is no functional ambulance service any more.

If you need an ambulance try to take your loved one to hospital yourself instead. This could save their life.

Obviously when you get to hospital good luck with that but at least you are not waiting for an ambulance that will never come.

OP posts:

ShaneTwane · 24/09/2022 08:48

Agreed op and they absolutely are NOT prioritising the most urgent. My dp had a very serious heart attack. We went the hospital by taxi as ambulances were 4+ hour wait. He would have been dead by the time one decided to show up.


Foronenightonly01 · 24/09/2022 08:49

@Thisismynamenow - they’ll prioritise a baby because the backlash if that goes wrong would be terrible. The elderly however are by comparison totally expendable. The nhs & emergency medicine is totally broken😔


Jedsnewstar · 24/09/2022 08:49

My daughters friend broke his leg jumping into a river. It was clearly broken (in multiple places). He couldn’t get out of the river. They said there was a 6hour wait min for ambulance to a group of terrified 14 year olds. They didn’t sent anyone else or help. Just said we will call you back.


Ship · 24/09/2022 08:49

OP in your case I think you would have been best taking your dd yourself straight away if you can drive. My dd also presented with chest pain and breathing difficulties earlier this year. I drove her to a and E myself (live 20 mins away) as I knew we would get there before the ambulance and I didn’t want to use up or wait for an ambulance when I could take her. Once at a and E she was admitted with croup and stayed overnight for nebuliser etc. obviously you need to risk assess- I knew I could take her because she could talk and her lips weren’t blue but I think where possible, drive. If you ring 111 they will likely say ambulance if you mention chest pains but you can still drive them. I do think it’s awful that so many people in agony with broken bones are waiting so long for an ambulance as they obviously can’t be moved. The nhs needs so much more funding, it’s a very sad state of affairs


MrsJBaptiste · 24/09/2022 08:49

Maybe it's the area where you live, the proximity to a hospital or just luck but we've called out two ambulances in the past 6 months and both came within 30 mins and 2 hours.


EgonSpengler2020 · 24/09/2022 08:49

OP is absolutely correct, the ambulance service has collapsed, whilst some will still get an ambulance in a timely fashion through sheer luck, most won't. So having a pre-made plan for transport to hospital, particularly if you don't have a car it essential. Remember that small kids are highly portable, so for the vast majority of the population it will always be quicker to throw them in the car and take them to hospital yourself.

This is how things are where I work.

Arrive at work, immediately text/phone colleagues on previous shift to see what the "hospital situation" is. Confirm that it's shit, once again, and that patients have been waiting for 6, 9 12, 30!! hours to offload. Get sent by control to the hospital to relieve a crew. Control have to work out who to priortise taking in to account finish time, breaks not taken (frequently there is no canteen at night due to staff shortages in catering, on sunday nights this means no access to anything as even the local supermarket/convienience stores are shut overnight), and distance to travel back to base in order to finish shifts (This can be 70 miles or close to 2 hours driving for some crews). Bare in mind this is all after the finish time on a 12 hour shift.

Then the crews that take over will sit with a patient that has been handed over to them and attempt to provide basic nursing care in a substandard environment. Depending how long the patient has already been outside, this could be it for the shift, or we could handover at some point, clear, get a break, another job and then back of the queue for the rest of the shift.

Some of the patients currently not getting in to a&e for 12+ hours are NEWscoring over 10. I've waited outside for a moderate period of time, and had the patient seen on the vehicle by a junior doc when they had a temp of 27C. FFS! Patients are developing pressures due to the ambulance stretcher being designed for a couple of hour long transfer at most.

Then at the end of the shifts the relieving crews will come in in dribs and drabs. Working times directives state that you must have an 11 hour rest between shifts, so many of the staff returning from working the shift before will be arriving late due to finishing so ridicolously late on their previous shift. Most stations work a 2days/2 nights/4 off system or similar so that you are staggered and not working with the same person all the time, this means that their partner for the shift will be coming in fresh, or switching from days on to night, therefore they will arrive on time. They will work solo if they are qualified/experienced enough to do so (or sit drinking tea if not), and may be sent to hospital to relieve a crew on their own if the patient is suitable. Their colleague will then turn in x hour later, but there may be no spare ambulance on station, so they are then stuck, unable to pair up with their crew mate who is either stuck at hospital or at scene waiting for backup, and unable to respond to any emergencies however high priority.

And so the cluster fuck continues, shift after shift, week after week, month after month, year after year (my first 6 hour + delay outside a&e was at least 9 years ago).

We get skills decay from barely seeing any patients and not using our skills, new starters don't even get to develop there skills outside of the classroom, but they qualify non-the-less. This is dangerous for patients causes an undercurrent of stress and insomnia for staff who fear for their registration, their job and even prison (a doctor was imprisoned for screwing up in the UK despite being forced to work outside her contracted/ EU WTD conditions).

So staff who can leave, in ever increasing numbers.

So OP definelty isn't scaremongering, in fact she doesn't know the half of it.


FruitPastilleNut · 24/09/2022 08:49

also should be looking at why the ambulances are taking taking long at patients houses

When I called an ambulance for my dad about 3 years ago (which took several hours), once the immediate tending to was done, there was a void of about 30 minutes before they left for hospital. During this time one paramedic chatted to my dad whilst the other filled in a huge swathe of paper forms about the call out.

Yes, I know records need to be kept but it seemed absolutely bonkers to me.


Devilishpyjamas · 24/09/2022 08:50

EmptyHouse0822 · 24/09/2022 08:41

I once rang 111 at about 4pm about my 3 year old who had been vomiting since the previous evening and he wasn’t even keeping down water. He wasn’t passing urine either and was very lethargic.

I didn’t want to take him to A&E unnecessarily as it wasn’t an emergency so I called 111. The lady who answered the phone said because of his age and symptoms she would refer his details to the doctor who would call me back within the hour.

So I waited, and waited and waited….

Meanwhile my son was still being sick.

After over 2 hours of waiting (despite me having rang 111 back to chase up the doctor’s phone call) I took him to A&E because I felt I had no other choice. It was about 7pm by this point and when he was triaged I was told there would be a 7 hour wait until he would be seen by a doctor.

In triage his sugars were low (2.2) and so they gave me some dioralyte and told me to give him 10mls every 10 minutes which thankfully he was able to tolerate. He was called back into the triage room just over two hours later and because his sugars had risen a little the nurse said that if he were her child then she’d just take him home rather than sit waiting to see a doctor for another 5 hours. So that’s what I did.

The 111 doctor did eventually call….at 2.30am in the morning, so 10.5 hours after I had initially phoned.

When I had been in A&E the place was absolutely crammed with what seemed to be children who were generally ok (running around, playing, chatting away to their parents etc) and I imagine a lot of them were there for the same reason I was : because GPs just aren’t available to advise on minor illnesses.

The whole system is a mess.

Had a similar experience with ds2 (a young adult). Waited all day for a doctor to call back from 111, then he had a text at 9pm saying that there were no doctors available and to see his GP after the weekend (it was Saturday). I was concerned about his symptoms so got him to ring 111 back. They then assessed him again and said he needed to present to A&E within an hour. DH dropped him off, he was told an 8 hour wait to be seen. He was then triaged - luckily quite quickly - and within an hour was on a drip & seeing a consultant. Luckily only had to wait about 5 hours for a bed and then spent 3 days in there. Waiting to see a GP would have been a really bad idea.


OnOldOlympus · 24/09/2022 08:50

The issue now is that and ambulance doesn't just turn up, put you on a stretcher and take you to hospital. Twice in a week an ambulance has been called to an elderly neighbour and that ambulance was outside for 2 hours both times. Yes that's 2HOURS. Yes there is an an obvious need for something to change but also should be looking at why the ambulances are taking taking long at patients houses


Maybe because paramedics aren’t just ambulance drivers that move a patient, they are trained professionals who were likely assessing and treating your neighbour before deciding to transfer her? I’m pretty confident that they weren’t just in their twiddling their thumbs or having a cuppa.


PasnipPasta · 24/09/2022 08:50

CharlotteRose90 · 24/09/2022 08:35

it depends on your priority. So far this year I’ve had an ambulance called out 4 times and each time I’ve waited less then 2 hours. All for different things. Please don’t try and scare people with False information.

Wow what a stupid post
My husband collapsed at the GPs surgery and the receptionist had to press the alarm , all the GPs rushed out with the emergency equipment
It took four 999 calls from them until an ambulance arrived
Do you honestly think we are all lying ?
Funking idiot


thegreylady · 24/09/2022 08:51

The ambulance service has to prioritise 999 calls over 111.
I have found 111 very variable. For minor things like a suspected broken ankle no driver they suggested a taxi. When my 86 year old husband fell out of bed in the middle of the night , and I couldn’t lift him they said they would send an ambulance. It was 2am . At 6.30 no one had come and he was in a very awkward position wedged between bed and radiator.
I managed to catch a neighbour on his way to work and he came and got dh into bed. I rang back to 111 to cancel the ambulance and they said it would have been a further two hour wait.


Porcupineintherough · 24/09/2022 08:52

Snog · 24/09/2022 08:27



Why not take your child to hospital yourself, unless life threatening why would you even accept an ambulance. It's people like you who make those who genuinely need them wait"

I was advised by a doctor on NHS 111 that paramedics were being despatched. This only happens after you have answered a lot of questions about the symptoms and condition of the patient. If that doctor had advised that I take my child straight to hospital that is what I would have done. It's not what they advised. My dd had severe chest and abdominal pain. Why would you say that my dd did not need an ambulance when a doctor advised that she did?

And was 111 right? did she need an ambulance? Or would a taxi to a&e have been better?

Ds1 was blue lighted to hospital a few months ago. Ambulance was with us within 5 min and they then worked on stabilising him for 20min before setting off for a&e. Once there there was no waiting, he was straight into resus. So by calling an ambulance he got 20 min of life saving treatment within the first half hour, treatment he wouldn't have got if I'd driven him myself.


Explaintome · 24/09/2022 08:53

FruitPastilleNut · 24/09/2022 08:49

also should be looking at why the ambulances are taking taking long at patients houses

When I called an ambulance for my dad about 3 years ago (which took several hours), once the immediate tending to was done, there was a void of about 30 minutes before they left for hospital. During this time one paramedic chatted to my dad whilst the other filled in a huge swathe of paper forms about the call out.

Yes, I know records need to be kept but it seemed absolutely bonkers to me.

Yes, I was surprised at gowmlong each visit took, when essentially "all" they did was an ECG and blood oxygen levels.

The actual care and attention for DH took a few minutes, but each visit close to an hour. Not critising the paramedics at all, they obviously have to do what's required of them, but there must surely be a more efficient way


LydiaBennetsUglyBonnet · 24/09/2022 08:53


It’s 111 that are inefficient not the ambulance service. My DS once poked me in the eye with a dirty fingernail and my eye then started to get a quite pussy so I rang 111 as it was late at night and they wanted to send an ambulance for me! Ridiculous! I just wanted to go to the OOH so I could get some eye drops!


FruitPastilleNut · 24/09/2022 08:53

Agree about 111 being too keen to send to A&E too.

I've been, I think, 4 times in the past few years, once for me and various bangs and breaks for dc. On 3 of the visits we were sent by 111 and each time the triage nurse sighed and said we should have been sent to Ooo GP instead but '111 will always tell you to go to A&E'.


Workinghardeveryday · 24/09/2022 08:53

My dps grandmother fell earlier in the year and really hurt her shoulder.

she was in a lot of pain and screaming with it. We were told ambulance would be there asap. It was about 6 hours in the end I think.

in that time she couldn’t move because of the pain, had poo’d herself because she had taken a strong laxative.

she is 91.

on the flip side I rang for my ds earlier in the year, less than 5 minutes later they were here! Car and ambulance


forgotoldusername · 24/09/2022 08:54

I want to keep this quite vague but my child needed transfer from one hospital to the other for a life threatening condition and there were no ambulances so we took our child ourselves to the other specialised hospital. Yes, it's THAT bad out there. Going through lawyers now so can't say too much but if you're seriously sick prepare to die that's my advice/


Devilishpyjamas · 24/09/2022 08:54

Good grief @EgonSpengler2020 that’s horrendous. I honestly don’t think the govt understands or cares where the problems lie & am fearful about how bad this could get for those of us working in the front line (& even worse for those needing care & support).


Amijustagrump · 24/09/2022 08:54

DH is a paramedic who went last month to a woman who had been lying on the floor for 26 hours..

He also got sent by 111 to someone for a nose bleed..

Our roofer fell through the roof while on blood thinners and we had to wait 45 minutes for an ambulance, luckily DH was home..

The service is failing, they know its failing but there isn't the staff or the money


HoneyIShrunkThePizza · 24/09/2022 08:54

Gosh I'm sorry to hear that. I'm in northern Ireland and one came for my newborn in February in 14 minutes and I live rurally. I was so impressed. No way would I have got her to the hospital and she kept stopping breathing so didn't want to put her in the car seat. Sounds like we just won the lottery though.


rockyg · 24/09/2022 08:54

@forgotoldusername Flowers


Msloverlover · 24/09/2022 08:55

My friend’s daughter had one arrive in 5 minutes last night for a high fever, so obviously there is one.


gogohmm · 24/09/2022 08:55

Nhs111 tend to be over cautious and don't check availability of ambulances. Unless it's life threatening or she needs specialist handling eg severe fractures then a taxi or lift to the hospital is best anyway assuming you don't live in the back of beyond. I'm 25 mins from the hospital, by the time a non urgent ambulance gets to me (the standard time is 28 mins apparently) I could have driven someone there!

There's ambulances for cases that need them, just not spare ones


LetMeSpeak · 24/09/2022 08:56

Maybe it depends where you live. I’m in a labour run city and the ambulances are great here the occasions we have needed them they have come quickly and swiftly with no delay.


justasking111 · 24/09/2022 08:56

We've driven family to the hospital most times. Our elderly neighbour had a suspected stroke his wife put him in the car drove to the hospital where they waited in A&E for 30 hours waiting for a bed. We've had up to 14 ambulances outside with very ill patients. One doctor for 70 plus patients.

We're a tourist area and a retirement area so it's a double whammy. Many many folks get sick on holiday for some reason

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