Paramedics reveal what it is like on the front line

Ambulance responds to an emergency call How long will you have to wait for an ambulance to arrive?

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I've only once had to travel in the back of an ambulance with the sirens wailing and blue lights flashing.

It was a long time ago and it all ended well, but once was enough.

From the moment we'd called 999 to the ambulance arriving and the subsequent journey to A&E it seemed like a lifetime.

We all know that speed is of the essence.

The faster a paramedic can get to you the sooner you can be stabilised, assessed and taken to the most appropriate hospital for your condition.

For that reason we naturally assume that when you have to call on the ambulance it will turn up right away and have all the equipment it needs on board.

Staff pressures

According to those working on the frontline within North East Ambulance Service - that's not something we can be sure of.

NEAS wouldn't be interviewed about its own staff's concerns but in a statement said all of the NHS was under stress and the organisation has its own internal systems for employees to raise any issues.

In the programme we also spent a day with the A&E team at Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital to see at first hand the pressures it is under.

Inside Out has spent a day in an A&E department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and hears from staff working under pressure.

If you've any experiences or views on the state of the NHS's Accident and Emergency services you'd like to share, please add your comments below.

Inside Out is on BBC One at 19:30 BST on Monday, 16 September 2013

Chris Jackson Article written by Chris Jackson Chris Jackson Presenter, Inside Out, North East & Cumbria

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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Our GP called an ambulance for my gravely ill 82 yr old father last Nov. It took three hrs plus to turn up. He was given oxygen treatment by the paramedics on the 10 min trip to Newcastle RVI.However, when we arrived at A&E we were put into a busy waiting room at 8.30pm. He was put in a chair with no oxygen and not seen until 4am the next morning despite me begging for oxygen and a doctor. He died

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The main reason for the delays is the large strain on the system. At least 50% of people who phone 999 do not require an emergency ambulance. It is not an accident or an emergency. It's a convenience for them. If these people would use the proper routes then the patients in actual need would be seen quicker. The general public need to take some responsibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Seems as though the comments are from a few disgruntled staff. 'No break in a whole shift' - Not true. I work in south Tyne and after 5hrs 40 mins we are off the clock. Once we finish the job we are on, we are stood down. Yes it may a while but you do get a break. 'No oxygen' - more rubbish. Takes less than a few mins to do basic check. If no oxygen we tell control then we are allowed to go get.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Not sure if people noticed that a St John Ambulance vehicle was used in the reconstruction on the programme. Have other people noticed that St John are doing more and more work for NEAS? Often they attend 999 calls as they are the closest unit. Yes they have training, but they are not paramedics. The NHS ambulance service shouldn't have to be supported by a volunteer organisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Thank goodness someone has spoken out, I am a paramedic on the rapid in the tees area and I have a number of experiences and situations where I have had to wait hours for back up to arrive. I agree, it is just a matter of time until someone will die as a result of waiting to be transported to a&e. this cannot go on, the public are suffering and this is just not acceptable.


Comments 5 of 9



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