Editor: Disastrous queues tell us our NHS is not coping

Us Brits love a queue but the sight of ambulances standing in a long line outside the accident and emergency department is a complete disaster.

By Nancy Fielder
Monday, 10th January 2022, 6:45 am
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 7:30 am
Ambulance crews waiting outside hospital

Our paramedics are simply there to provide care during transportation. They are the ones who gets us to the experts - whatever our health problem might be - and they are our first line of defence.

So, taking them off the road and leaving them stranded outside hospitals is terrible news for everyone. There are many reasons why we have reached the point where my email inbox is full of people wanting to talk about their horror at the state of our NHS. It has been catastrophically underfunded for years.

We are in the middle of a pandemic and hundreds of Sheffield hospital workers are self isolating. We were branded the worst in the country yesterday and while hospital bosses were quick to say the figures were wrong, it is hard to convince anybody if you can’t actually provide what you claim are the correct figures.

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Regardless, we all know plenty of health workers who are having to stay at home or had to recently, so it doesn’t take a top notch mathematician to tell us there is a serious problem. But behind that all is a social care system which has been allowed to collapse. That has a direct impact on all of us. It left one Star reader advised to get a lift to hospital when needing an emergency heart operation because a health official warned an ambulance would take too long.

It saw a friend's mum wait at home with a broken hip for more than 12 hours for a paramedic, then lie on a hospital trolley for 24 hours before finally getting her emergency operation four days later.

At the top of the waiting ambulances aren’t ‘bed blockers’. They are human beings who need care more than most but no longer have a system which can wrap a loving arm around them.

There aren’t enough carers to come into their homes and there aren’t enough care homes with sufficient staff to make them safe. So our elderly and infirm are stranded in hospital – just as unhappy and stressed as those who wait outside desperate to get in.

Our NHS is not coping. Our health workers do an incredible job – the Avengers wouldn’t be able to do better in these circumstances. This is made a lot worse by the pandemic but do not be fooled, it was not created by it.