Paramedics are being forced to become innovative in the way they manage patients, who in some cases, are reportedly facing delays of up to seven hours before they are transferred from ambulance to hospital
Image: Getty Images)
Patients in ambulances waiting for hours to be taken into hospital are killing the time by watching Netflix box sets, the head of Britain’s paramedics has claimed.
Queues of ambulances waiting outside hospitals to offload patients have emerged as Covid chaos and winter pressures mount on the NHS.
But innovative paramedics have been streaming Netflix to their iPads for patients in an effort to distract and entertain while they attempt to keep up with the delays which have seen people wait up to seven hours in some cases.
With Covid infections rife, NHS staff absences are further impacting ambulance waiting times, with reports emerging of some people waiting 24 hours for paramedics.
Across the country, reports of heart attack victims being told to “get a lift” to hospital instead have also surfaced.
AFP via Getty Images)
Speaking to The Telegraph, Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics, Tracy Nicholls revealed that the front line emergency workers are now often in full-time “conflict resolution” mode, as desperate patients deteriorate in car parks.
She said: “Paramedics are spending all their time apologising to everyone for their waits and distress,” she continued.
“If you’ve got a tricky or awkward relationship with the patient, you could be sitting with them for several hours in the back of a metal box and tensions can build.
She added: “Paramedics are innovative creatures. I’ve heard that some crews have streamed Netflix onto their trust iPads and strapped it to the stretcher so that those patients who are able can watch shows while they wait.”
Ms Nicholls also revealed that some hubs had only four out of 10 vehicles operating due to the high number of paramedics off sick and that doctors are increasingly being forced to treat patients outside the hospital
In some cases they have been offering minor treatment and diagnostics, like taking blood, in the car park she added.
Particularly worrying, she said, are the “category two” calls for conditions such as suspected heart attack and stroke, which have an 18-minute target response time.
But the chaos is not evenly spread throughout the UK, with staff absences “exploding” in some areas the expert revealed.
In the North West, 150 Armed Forces personnel have been called in to drive ambulances, while 19 ambulances were pictured queuing outside Torbay Hospital and Devon last week.
Leaked figures showed that 1 in 10 NHS workers – a total of 120,000 were off-sick on Wednesday, while Ms Nicholls added that some hospitals have only four in ten ambulances operating.
Previously, the ambulance services had employed a practice known as ‘cohorting’ to deal with delays, whereby four ambulances worth of patients were managed by one or two paramedics but in today’s pandemic this cannot be done, due to infection rules.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.