Waiting times following serious medical emergencies show an NHS that needs support

We’re sure that we weren’t the only ones who were appalled when they saw on BBC Breakfast, heard on a BBC radio station or read on the BBC News website the results of a BBC investigation that showed that some of those who have suffered a serious medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, are having to waiting over an hour for an ambulance.

It is first important that we make clear here that we are not blaming, ‘having a go’ or in any way criticising the paramedics in those ambulances, the vast majority of whom are doing a truly exceptional job and who should be among the most valued in society given the vitally important work they do.

It is absolutely unacceptable though that anyone, particularly someone who has had a heart attack or stroke, should be waiting over an hour to be attended to after making a 999 call. As the BBC News article detailing this investigation shows, this situation has led to people dying too.

We’ll repeat what we said earlier too, as it’s important;

Heart attacks and strokes are serious medical emergencies that need immediate attention!

No more is true than when considering strokes; as the NHS itself said when speaking about the establishment of Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs) in Greater Manchester and London, the sooner a person receives specialist treatment following a stroke, the more likely they are to survive it. Their chances of making a full recovery also improve the sooner they receive specialist treatment as well.  It’s why the NHS has done highly visible advertising campaigns telling us to Act F.A.S.T when someone suffers a stroke too.

It is for this reason that we are surprised the NHS classes serious medical emergencies like strokes and epileptic fits to be Category Two emergencies while a cardiac arrest is classed as the most serious category because they are considered to be “immediately life-threatening”. Depending upon the severity of the stroke or fit, both can also present an immediate threat to life too, because an ambulance crew would not know unless they attended the scene of the emergency to assess the patient.

Ultimately, as the BBC rightly notes, much of this is being caused by the rise in delays in ambulance crews being able to promptly hand over patients to A&E departments, as we have written about previously.

As we did in yesterday’s article too, we have to yet again repeat our call to the UK Government to do everything it can to help the NHS overcome the multiple issues it is currently dealing with.

This matters – stressed burnt-out doctors who need to take sick leave, A&E waiting times targets continually not being met, GPs urging parents to seek private treatment for their mentally ill children – all of these issues and more that the NHS is currently dealing with are creating a situation where respect and trust in the NHS and its staff will erode. We can even anticipate a situation where the NHS may no longer be ranked as the top health system too.

As things stand though, we have a situation where a person’s chances of survival or of making a full recovery following a serious medical emergency will be diminished. In turn, this will mean they or their surviving family members may feel not enough was done, which could lead them to wanting to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS.

Given the NHS is already facing a £4.3 billion clinical negligence legal fees bill, it would make financial sense – as well as being the morally and ethically right thing to do – for the NHS to be properly staffed and resourced in order to meet its current and expected future levels of demand.

This really is not something we like having to say, if you have suffered as a result of negligent care, including care that hasn’t been received in a timely fashion, you may have a valid medical negligence claim.

At The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with specialist legal firms that sadly have a lot of experience in handling claims from those who have suffered medical negligence at the hands of the NHS. This means we and the firms we work with are in the best possible position to help you or your family member get the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. When considering those who have not made a full recovery following a serious medical emergency, the level of this compensation would be calculated to ensure they receive the level of ongoing care and support they may need too.

If you or a family member have not received proper care from the NHS and want advice to see if you may have a claim, do not hesitate to contact The Medical Negligence Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8761.