When front-line NHS staff speak out, you take notice

When someone well-versed in the realities of front line emergency medicine takes it upon themselves to tell you about a situation that they describe as 'disturbing', you take notice.

I took notice earlier this week. My phone buzzed while I was making dinner. A contact told me the following story. It's a tragic account from an NHS under immense pressure.

The contact was a paramedic. Clearly frustrated, they described how a patient who had dialled 999 could not get admitted into a hospital.

This didn't come as a surprise. The ambulance service has lost thousands of hours this winter because crews are sat outside hospitals. There's sometimes simply not enough space inside emergency departments.

But this time, the patient's condition deteriorated.

The contact then said that several attempts were made by paramedics to get the patient into the hospital but hospital staff and the hospital ambulance liaison officer could not allow it. There still wasn't enough space.

The patient, despite the best efforts of the crew, died.

It's sobering to think that that patient had dialled 999, an ambulance had collected them, they had been taken to hospital, but died outside the front door.

There is no way of knowing whether the patient would have survived had they been admitted to hospital - but the fact a paramedic wanted me to know this story, in my opinion, speaks volumes.

My contact ended their message to me by saying: "It's about time the Welsh Assembly and UK Government took their heads out of the sand and admitted the NHS is broken."

When someone on the NHS front line says that, you take notice.

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