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Winter Healthcare Crisis Causes Struggles For UK Ambulance Service

By 12/01/2022 2:52 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

A worsening issue that has undoubtedly caused dozens of deaths is leaving thousands of patients each week trapped in ambulances outside major British hospitals that are overcrowded.

Several pressures are putting a strain on the U.K.’s ambulance service, including increased demand for care after pandemic restrictions were relaxed, an increase in flu and other winter viruses following two lockdown years, staff shortages due to pandemic burnout, and a lack of European workers in Britain following Brexit.

Thousands of hospital beds are also filled by patients who are medically fit for discharge but are stuck there due to a lack of long-term care facilities.

According to official figures, there are often hours-long waits for ambulances outside hospital emergency rooms because there aren’t enough beds for the patients. According to statistics released on Thursday by the National Health Service, 31% of patients who arrived at hospitals in England by ambulance had to wait at least 30 minutes, and 15% had to wait longer than an hour.

According to Adrian Boyle, head of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, “issues with urgent and emergency care” contributed to more than 200 deaths last week in England.

The winter virus cases are rapidly increasing, along with ongoing pressures in emergency care, and hugely constrained bed capacity, according to Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director for England.

The NHS has set up a series of “war rooms” across the country to marshal data and send ambulances to less-busy hospitals to decrease waiting times.

The system is about to experience an increase in stress due to strikes.

As part of a wave of action by employees in several sectors demanding pay hikes to match record inflation, ambulance workers from three different unions have decided to go on strike in December.

Also, this month, nurses in regions that make up approximately half of the country have chosen to strike for two days.

George Dusher, a paramedic in northern England who voted to strike, described the situation as “carnage at the moment” and said it was the worst he had ever seen.

“People call for an ambulance, but we can’t get to them, so they are forced to wait on the floor for ten hours.

Due to delays, we are not responding to cardiac arrests quickly enough.

“Due to the delays in hospital admissions, I used to see up to 10 patients during a shift, but now it’s just three or four.”

The challenges have reignited a long-running discussion on how to fund and manage Britain’s National Health Service, which was established in 1948 to offer free healthcare to everyone and is supported by taxes.

Longer life expectancies and an aging population have raised the demand for the generally adored but perpetually overburdened service, as in other industrialized nations.

Additionally, the NHS has historically been a political flashpoint.

The Conservative Party, in power since 2010, has come under fire from opposition politicians for allegedly underfunding the health system or secretly attempting to privatize it.

According to the government, funding is increasing.

Although salary boosts are being offered to public sector employees, it claims that it cannot afford to do so to keep up with October’s 11.1% inflation rate.

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