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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:
Devilishpyjamas · 24/09/2022 09:03

BananaSpanner · 24/09/2022 09:01

I honestly don’t know how it doesn’t get more attention because it is an absolute scandal.

Reading this thread people don’t seem to believe how bad it is in some areas anyway.

saleorbouy · 24/09/2022 09:03

Because the ambulance service is seen as a taxi service by many who could get themselves to hospital with minor ailments and injuries.
It's not helped on Fridays and Saturdays ferrying the many injured drunks to A&E.
The NHS services are abused by many who with a little more personal and social responsibility would allow the strained services and staff a bit more breathing space.

Fingeronthebutton · 24/09/2022 09:03

Are you surprised ? We have idiots on here who recommend calling an ambulance because a teenager is drunk God help us.
You can’t educate spam.

DickDarstedly · 24/09/2022 09:03

Our neighbour called an ambulance for a (badly) cut finger because her DH needed to take the kids to school and therefore “couldn’t” take her to ED which is about a 10 minute drive away

Why are you sharing this story? It has nothing to do with what the OP and so many others have shared in this thread. Do you not understand triage? You don’t just call an ambulance and they send one out if they have one, no matter what you are complaining of. They make a decision based on need. If your story is true I would be flabbergasted if they sent an ambulance out. Even if they did that would mean there were not other serious cases needing an ambulance at that time. So, people like your neighbour are not at fault for the state of the ambulance service at the moment.

There is some real gaslighting going on here. There is lots of real evidence that the ambulance service is in crisis. Instead of people being really angry that this is happening in a modern society they are being told diversionary stories such as:

  1. It occasionally works ok in x place. So you are being hysterical if you point out it doesn’t work in most places most of the time
  2. There is no problem with the ambulance service, the problem is with the people not using it properly
  3. Anybody who points out the truth is ‘scaremongering’ eg. Being a hysterical female

This is a crisis. We have to keep telling the truth about it.
DashboardConfessional · 24/09/2022 09:03

YANBU, and I say that as someone who had an ambulance arrive in 4 minutes in July. We were prioritised because DS is 3, has had 2 severe episodes of breathing difficulties prior and was turning a funny colour. If you're over about 10 here, you wait and wait.

LetMeSpeak · 24/09/2022 09:03

Reading these stories are awful and makes me feel guilty as one of the occasions we had a ambulance come to us the whole thing ended up being a false alarm. They came so quickly too. It always shocks me hearing these stories from people what they are having to wait for ambulance for hours.

AnotherPidgey · 24/09/2022 09:04

There clearly are issues in ambulance provision resulting from issues throughout the NHS chain, but the service exists and is patchy.

DS has had an awful summer with asthma and reached the criteria for ambulance call out 3 times. The initial one through 111 was within an hour (Sun night), 999 a week later was about 15min (Early Sat night before town got busy) and 999 a weekday morning about 15 min.
There are reports of delays and problems in the local news, but the service we've experienced has been functional. Breathing difficulties have a high triage priority.

Arguably the worst position to be in for triage is those who've had falls who require immobilising for transfer to hospital and therefore an ambulance, aren't in an imminent threat to life, but waiting hours and risking hypothermia is a threat in itself.

I remember the waits and crowded A&E corridors of the 90s and it's not good to be back in that position.
Lack of access to primary care, over zealous 111 advice and problems within hospital and social care are all compounding issues backing up into emergency care.

There are problems but it's not a universal truth.

Velvian · 24/09/2022 09:04

Yanbu. It is truly broken. About 15 years ago 111, when it was NHS Direct, it was really good. You would speak to a nurse who had a conversation with you, directed you to pick up some medication or an OOH centre.

Now DH and I don't bother with it. After being burned a couple of times we know the choices will be nothing or ambulance (despite saying please don't send an ambulance, we have a car.)

KikoLemons · 24/09/2022 09:05

I agree the problem is due to a combination of factors. Mis-use, bed-blocking, poor treatment of NHS workers, failure of the government - all contribute. But the prevailing attitude is always for each of us to blame our particular hate figure and ignore the rest.

The real problem is many people think it's nothing to do with them. So no-one thinks about how they vote, they just choose a tribe depending on how they want to be seen); they don't stand for local government, volunteer, pay privately when they can, look after their health or their elderly relatives, (or often their kids despite what they say). People do call 999 when they can't be arsed to make the effort or because they haven't ever had to take responsibility so don't know what else to do. (But if you try to educate them it's seen as wrong). People avoid paying tax if they can and do absolutely nothing except (often rightly) complain on social media. But it won't change until it absolutely has to.

rockyg · 24/09/2022 09:05

@DickDarstedly I think it's so we are reassured, it's only our imagination. 😆

IncessantNameChanger · 24/09/2022 09:07

Pmsfml · 24/09/2022 08:07

An elderly neighbour waited 4 hours for an ambulance, then when they got him to the hospital there were no beds so spent 18 hours sat in that same ambulance. The doctor came round and treated him there. Its so sad what's become of the NHS.

This is a real problem in some areas and happened to my mum. Paramedics saying there's no issue and it's all fine are doing their colleagues in other areas are doing no favours saying its like a well oiled machine.

Icequeen01 · 24/09/2022 09:07

My DM recently fell in a relatives garden and had a suspected broken hip. Ambulance was called and we were told up to a 12 hour wait. DM is 82 and was outside on a cold floor. After an hour (and being told by a neighbour who is a retired paramedic that the hip was definitely broken) relative phoned the ambulance service again to stress the emergency and was asked by the call handler whether relative could drive DM to the hospital!!

Luckily an ambulance came 30 mins later so I guess 1.5 hours wait is pretty good.

DM stayed in hospital for over 4 weeks but was medically fit to come home after 2.5 weeks but as the hospital were waiting for the care package to be in place so couldn't discharge her. She effectively bed blocked for nearly 2 weeks. The day she was discharged there was someone in her bed within 30 mins of her leaving as they were so desperate for beds.

It's a really sad state.

whatdoyouthinkhmm · 24/09/2022 09:07

A very close family member (young) of mine died recently because the ambulance operator kept asking questions to another family member. She was crying down the phone that the ambulance needed to be here because life was draining from his face. He was bleeding and wasn’t responsive. After 20-30 minutes of questions (we found out later it was a new recruit) an ambulance was called. The ambulance took it’s sweet time too. If the patient is conscious and can walk then you shouldn’t call an ambulance.

SquirrelSoShiny · 24/09/2022 09:09

rockyg · 24/09/2022 08:32

I actually think it's crazy they reversed the new h&s levy, it's needed!

This. It is the maddest decision I've ever seen. Social care is completely broken. Frankly humans were never supposed to live this long with multiple complex health problems. It's wonderful they can if they want to but only if we're willing to fund care.

DickDarstedly · 24/09/2022 09:09


Your opinion that ambulances are treated as taxis has no relevance. If you call a taxi because someone is drunk the ambulance won’t come! People having heart attacks are not dying because drunk people are using ambulances! Have you not heard of triage? Drunk people are told to sleep it off or get a taxi to hospital!! Why do you believe these stories which are quite blatantly shared around in order to shift blame away from the truth. The ambulance service is in crisis.

BonnieWeeJeannieMcColl · 24/09/2022 09:10

My father had a stroke. I phoned 999, they said they were sending an ambulance, and asked me to open the front door and mask up. I did so, then phoned my brother to tell him. The ambulance arrived as I was speaking to my brother. I couldn't believe how quickly they arrived.

Excellent care and he was discharged 10 days later with a care package.

We're in Scotland.

Theluggage15 · 24/09/2022 09:10

My 89 year old father had a fall last week and couldn’t get up from the pavement. People who had come to help phoned an ambulance and were told it would be hours and he should make his own way there. They told the call handler he was unable to get up and they weren’t sure if he’d broken anything, he’d also hit his head and was bleeding quite badly, but they still said ambulance would be hours. They managed to carry him to a car and kindly took him to A&E. Not blaming the ambulance service at all but this is a really broken system.

butterpuffed · 24/09/2022 09:10

I called for an ambulance four months ago as I had a heartbeat of over 140 . I was told there'd be a long wait . No nearby family so I had to get a taxi . Once I got to A&E , they were very good and immediately transferred me to Urgent Care . It turned out to be an allergy to one of my new meds.

My elderly neighbour called for an ambulance recently as she had a bad back and couldn't move. They turned up within twenty minutes.

I cannot get my head around these two occasions having such different reactions .

Explaintome · 24/09/2022 09:11

A genuine question because I've never been in this situation, but there have been a few news stories. When an elderly person falls outdoors and is left on a cold floor etc waiting for an ambulance,for hours is it really not possible/preferable to get the neighbours together and move them indoors?

I understand it's best not to move them if possible, but is it really better to leave them cold than to move them?

As I say, I've no idea what the reality of it is, but I can't imagine leaving them there.

OLP2019 · 24/09/2022 09:11

It's definitely broken and it's easy to blame a political party but the reality is this has been decades in the making and no party has been able to fix it

Twopandemicpregnancies · 24/09/2022 09:12

Agreed. FIL had severe stroke. Ambulance arrived after 4 hours. He never recovered and died a few days later. We will never know if with swifter treatment he might have survived 😢

Nottidaythanks · 24/09/2022 09:13

Thisismynamenow · 24/09/2022 08:06

You're scaremongering, we've had 2 ambulances out in the past 2 months for my baby and they arrived in less than 5 minutes.

It's there, just prioritising the most urgent.

You got lucky. If three people suffer heart attacks at the same time and there is only one ambulance available, its not about prioritising. Two will have to wait.

Abraxan · 24/09/2022 09:14

Devilishpyjamas · 24/09/2022 08:25

@Abraxan a GP here reported calling an ambulance for a patient at the surgery because they’re needed to be seen immediately and were at high risk - they waited for a stupid amount of time, something like 6 hours. So even with a concerned doctor who has assessed the situation clinically there was an unsafe wait.

That was certainly my experience. That despite being cat 1 emergency and clinically diagnosed by a medical professional to be an emergency the wait was potentially dangerously long.

We made the decision to risk the journey alone after the wait was getting longer and longer. But we knew it was a risk due to no medical facilities en route, however, I was talking up the doctors room, taking up doctor, nurse and reception time just waiting. Felt guilty about it all, whilst feeling I'll and worried about my health. Was all rubbish tbh.

Devilishpyjamas · 24/09/2022 09:14

Tory MP but a surprisingly good analysis of the situation in Cornwall, although I disagree that integrated care systems are a magic solution & note that she hasn’t mentioned housing costs & availability (which will impact hugely on social care in cornwall). I’m not in Cornwall, but the situation is very similar in my area.

CanaryShoulderedThorn · 24/09/2022 09:15

An ambulance is not just a mode of transport, it is in effect a mobile A and E unit, staffed by highly trained professionals. To the poster who questioned the need to stay at a patients house for 2 hours, that may have been much more "cost effective" than rushing someone to hospital where the ambulance would be tied up in a queue for 8 hours waiting to hand over.

I think some of the problem is that we are unrealistic in our expectations of elderly care and as a result our hospitals are full of elderly people needing non existing care services for discharge.

Where someone is 95, with dementia or already very frail and living in a care home, is it really in their best interest to "do everything we can" and ring 999 if they have a cardiac arrest, or should we do everything that is kindest?
Some sort of DNAR opt out model (like the doner organ scheme), for very elderly, frail people would help, but somehow I can't see Therese Coffey agreeing with that.

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