Redbridge’s sick and injured waiting up to eight hours for ambulances
- Credit: Archant
Ill and injured people are waiting up to eight hours for an ambulance in Redbridge as a perfect storm of increasing demand and confusion stretches paramedics to their limits.
It is one of the slowest boroughs in London for response times and patients have seen shocking delays in recent months.
In May, an ambulance was sent out after more than eight hours to a person feeling ill in the street.
The patient did not answer their phone to paramedics and by the time the ambulance arrived, the person had disappeared.
Even life-threatening calls had waits of more than two hours in August and September.
You may also want to watch:
In August, paramedics were called to help a drunk person who was at first thought to be in no danger. When their condition got worse after waiting for two hours, an ambulance arrived in less than five minutes.
Paramedic Richard Fitzgibbons, who does not work in Redbridge, said delays are frustrating for 999 staff and leave ill people and their relatives distressed.
- 1 Young Citizen: Ilford student who assisted at crash campaigns for more first aid
- 2 Sam Tarry MP urges Sadiq Khan to block Goodmayes Tesco development
- 3 Barkingside man charged with intending to supply cannabis
- 4 Protestors decry 'privatisation' of NHS outside Loxford Practice
- 5 'I convened a meeting for residents and businesses in the York Road area'
- 6 Charity urges council to tackle alleged Ilford Lane anti-social behaviour
- 7 Guilty: Who was jailed across east London in July?
- 8 Redbridge issued more than 2,800 Blue Badge fines in 2020, data shows
- 9 More than £5m worth of stolen vehicles recovered in first Redbridge Action Week
- 10 Council leader urges government to fund flood prevention measures
He added: “The perception is that if you call 999, you’ll get an ambulance in 10 minutes, but there’s a triage system.
“Even if it’s not life-threatening, if it’s your relative or friend you want an ambulance there now. People get very anxious and upset.”
Mr Fitzgibbons said phone operators have set questions and are not medically trained, and relatives can sometimes exaggerate or understate symptoms.
He added: “It’s quite stressful for staff turning up to jobs hours after people call for help. Either no one’s been or there’s a single responder waiting for back-up.
“As paramedics, we go out to help people and get them to a hospital and we want to do it fast.”
The London Ambulance Service’s assistant director of operations, Paul Gates, said there has been a “significant” increase in demand in Redbridge, especially for serious calls.
He said: “We urge people with less serious illnesses and minor injuries to consider other healthcare providers in the community, for example your local pharmacy, walk-in centre, or calling 111.”