999 crews in crisis

In Britain, over the last two years, thousands of ambulance staff have left their jobs, causing worrying delays in ambulance response times. 

The UK’s ambulance service is on a ‘critical’ list of its own. Since 2018, the number of paramedics has fallen from 32,200 to 28,700. Because of the shortfall, there are now too few teams to make it possible for them to deliver the service targets set for the NHS ambulance service.
Emergency call out waiting times are on average 9 minutes instead of the target 7 minutes. Less serious call out times are 46 minutes versus the 18 minute target and non-emergency waiting times can reach 7½ hours, with one patient held in an ambulance in the West Midlands of England for 11 hours and 46 minutes. Meanwhile, in September 2021, the 999 services received almost one million emergency calls from the public. 

The cause is partly due to stress related illness among ambulance crews, with cases in the service increasing by 71% during the pandemic. This is making people to leave the service, and whole careers end as they walk away fro their jobs.
In some cases, it has even led to suicide. The Government has warm words for the ambulance service. But what they need to do is provide proper resources and the staff to do the job without putting the ambulance crews themselves in health danger. Meanwhile, the service struggles to cope with what could be a winter demand that creates a national emergency in the ambulance service itself.


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