August 13th, 2012

Another day, another…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

…wait for the Ambulance service.

Regular readers may feel that I have a bee in my bonnet about this one, given the amount of stories of late that I’m posting. And I know the garden isn’t all that rosey within the police service but I’m really not trying to divert thoughts from the police onto the other services, but bloody hell.

This week we had an officer in the town centre calling up wanting an ambulance urgently. A 90-year-old lady had fallen over on the footpath and hurt her hip. Alarm bells always ring when I hear this, ever since my own mother-in-law fell over in our kitchen and broke her hip. She spent a while in our local hospital until she had an emergency hip replacement. After a few weeks she returned back to her part of the country where complications necessitated a stay in her hospital during which she contracted one of those  illnesses brought about by unclean wards and she died.

We called an ambulance explaining the situation, and ambulance came there none. None available. Not until 65 minutes later. 65 minutes during which a frail 90-year-old was lying on the footpath amongst the shoppers, all presumably tutting that we weren’t doing anything to get her medical aid.

Meanwhile we were having a debate about whose fault it would be if she died on scene, or if we picked her up and took her to A&E ourselves and inadvertently caused a condition which lead to her death. We concluded that it would be our fault whatever happened. It usually is.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t just a rare occasion, but it is happening EVERY SINGLE shift.

I still haven’t read anything in the papers about it.

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  1. Geeorge says:

    Where I live, in a place rather far away from you, our emergency services (both Police and Rescue – the latter equating to your separate Fire and Ambulance and Coastguard Services, I suppose) have had set for them a five minute response time, fifteen minutes if responding to a rural area. That time is counted from the time that the emergency call is received to first arrival at scene. Anything over pledge time and quite senior people (Chief Superintendent/Commander equivalent) in whichever service failed are hauled over the coals. If too many such cases occur over a period then then Commissioner equivalent gets not a little stress and a lot of criticism. Mind you, we don’t live in a “democracy”, but I know which I would put first: efficient emergency response for the public or hypocritical and greedy trough-snuffling politicians bleating about how democratic and hunky-dory everything is. Hope the old lady you write about does recover.

    August 14th, 2012 at 05:31

  2. JohnM says:

    Old ladies, and men, have a poor survival rate from serious injuries.
    After my father died following a hip replacement I spent some time checking the stats.
    If you have a timeline of a week the death rate is a few percent, extend that to a month and it increases to nearly ten percent. But when you go to a year after surgery/illness/injury it climbs to nearly a third.

    August 14th, 2012 at 06:25

  3. Ruralot says:

    That’ll be down to triage.

    A patient who is conscious, breathing & not losing blood externally & described as ‘a fall’ will be triaged as a green call, probably a green 2 (the lowest emergency category)

    Because of this triage system, which looks only at very limited factors, other calls would have had greater priority.

    I’m not saying what is right or wrong, merely trying to explain what’s going on & why you’re having to wait.

    August 14th, 2012 at 12:21

  4. Whinger says:

    Other calls with greater priorities…,,,

    That will be the wastes of space always claiming to have took an overdose etc.etc.etc.

    August 14th, 2012 at 16:49

  5. Tony F says:

    Whinger is right, the ambulance service is always having to respond to smackheads and pissheads, who are regular users, and who in a properly run society would be post natally aborted.

    August 14th, 2012 at 17:58

  6. Civ_In_The_City says:

    Scandalous. This fiddling the figures to make it look like everything is fine is now at the point of outright lies.

    Gadget has a long piece about this on his blog currently.

    I think part of the problem comes from office wallahs who ‘break down’ a problem into lots of separate pieces, solve each individual piece, but never put all the pieces together again to see the compound result of their fine efforts.

    The other point is that there are now ‘acceptable’ limits for things (like deaths of pensioners who fall and can`t get to a hospital in a reasonable time). The fact that she never actually entered the system, because a medical responder didn`t go to her aid, probably means she won`t appear on a spreadsheet anywhere. Officially the system didn`t fail her.

    It`s a race to the bottom. Next stop, privatisation.

    August 14th, 2012 at 17:59

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