According to recent news, Calls are currently being made for an investigation into why problems with the hospital system in the south west are “so much worse” than the rest of the country.
Also last week, an NHS Trust chief fearing an ambulance would take too long had to be driven to the hospital by her husband.
It has been found that patients in ambulances are waiting up to 14 hours to be handed over to hospital staff but local agencies say they are determined to overcome the challenges together.
Many are of the opinion that the reason for the delays are because hospitals are not able to discharge patients quickly enough.
It has been revealed that South Western Ambulance Service currently has the longest wait times in England, with category-two calls, which include strokes and chest pains, taking nearly two hours on average to reach patients last month.
This is very far from the target of 18minutes.
At any one time last week, there was an average of 20 ambulances waiting outside the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Carole Jarman said her friend was on the floor for 15 hours and waited a total of 27 hours before an ambulance arrived. The 61-year-old told BBC Radio Gloucestershire that her 89-year-old friend waited 27 hours for an ambulance last month after she had a fall describing it as “an awful experience”.
In another event, Cathie Cooper said she waited 10 minutes to even get through to a call handler when requesting an ambulance while she was having an asthma attack.
Shane Clark, who is Unison’s South Western Ambulance lead for Gloucestershire, said he now wants a central government inquiry.
He said, “It would be really interesting to have a public inquiry to understand why the south west seems to be worse, why are we having this grassroots social care issue that doesn’t seem to be happening elsewhere,”
He added that while ambulances still queue in other areas of the country, it wasn’t as long as in the south west.
Mr Clark, who is from Gloucester, and has worked for the ambulance service for more than 15 years said while the ambulance team are providing the best standard of care they can for their patients, there should be available beds for patients when they arrive at hospital. He also expressed concerns over the capacity of community hospitals in Gloucestershire.
Deborah Lee, chief executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, has been praised by many on Twitter for her honesty. Last week, she tweeted that her husband had “bundled her into his car”, after she had showed the signs of a stroke because he had heard her “lamenting ambulance delays”.
She stated that the reasons behind the ambulance delays were not at the “front door of hospitals” but at the back.
According to the NHS trust that runs them, Gloucestershire’s two main hospitals regularly have more than 200 patients medically fit to be discharged, but they are unable to discharge them.
Some of the reasons for this include a reduction in the numbers of beds in community hospitals, difficulties in getting GP appointments, which means that more people are turning up at A&E, as well as the time taken to organize adult social care in the community.
While adult social care is overseen by the county council so that people who are well enough can go back to their own homes, but with short-term support, those who need longer-term support might need to be moved into care homes and the council works with other health partners for that.
Executive director of Adult Social Care and Public Health at Gloucestershire County Council, Sarah Scott, described it as a “complex situation”.
Jamie Webb, a registered manager at Crossroads Care – which helps people return home after being in hospital – said the sector is struggling with understaffing as the current staffing levels doesn’t allow the hospitals to “increase those packages of care”.
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