Morecambe paramedic talks about current NHS and ambulance service crisis on television

A Morecambe paramedic appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show talking about the current crisis in the NHS and ambulance service.

By Michelle Blade
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 3:14 pm

After his appearance on TV this morning, Paul Turner, 40, who is based in Lancaster, said of issues locally: “We are experiencing huge delays and have done for a number of years. This has been happening for a considerable amount of time, well before the Covid pandemic.

"The waiting times with an ambulance at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary can be 10 hours.

"I don’t blame the RLI staff, A & E staff or hospital staff.

Morecambe paramedic Paul Hunter appeared on national television talking about the current crisis in the NHS and ambulance service.

"As a resource issue, we often find ourselves on emergencies out of our area including Blackpool and Preston which means the three vehicles we have could be out of the area, depending on a particular day.

"In this case it becomes a postcode lottery.

"The volume of calls has gone up, we are receiving 50% more calls now than what we have done. This could be because people are struggling to get GP appointments and 111 are sending ambulances to jobs.

“Some of the patients are not happy when we arrive, sometimes there is a backlash and sometimes aggression.

“I don't think the public are understanding of the pressures we are under or how far we travel to treat them.

"There is a lot of pressure on ambulance staff and 999 call handlers, sometimes they have 25 emergencies but only two ambulances.

"People are working through their last break to finish on time. Sometimes paramedics/technicians might be six, seven or eight hours into their day and still not had a drink or something to eat.

"If the job comes in on an evening you are not finishing on time and that has an impact on your personal life.

"Huge amounts of staff are leaving the ambulance service and a lot of the staff are off sick.

"The ambulance services are not funded properly in my opinion which is based on historic figures and not the current demand. A recent review suggested we were 399 staff short based on this demand where funding suggests we are over established.

"The government have invested £20m in the NHS but it can’t go towards recruitment as the funding is not recurrent so this is spent on private resources, so we find now we are in a position where we are massively under pressure, under resourced and understaffed.

"This is where I see how the NHS can’t carry on going the way it is.”

ITV's Tonight programme spent two days filming with the North West Ambulance Service and Warrington Hospital.

They report that across the country, ambulance delays are at a record high.

Patients having a stroke or heart attack are supposed to be reached within 18 minutes, but many are now waiting hours.

Many of the staff on shift the day ITV filmed had extended their shifts through the night to try and clear the backlog.

But the queues inside A&E were causing queues outside too.

Paramedics are unable to leave a patient until they’ve been handed over to hospital staff, so just beyond the doors to the department is a long line of ambulances caught up in the delay.

999: A National Emergency? Tonight is on today, (Thursday July 28), on ITV at 8.30pm.