Ambulance workers warn drunken partygoers are diverting overstretched crews away from emergencies as the NHS struggles to cope with a surge in demand over the winter
- The NHS is already stretched with patients forced to wait hours for ambulances
- Paramedics have warned the situation is even worse during the Christmas period
- A 93-year-old man who had a fall had to wait five hours for paramedics to arrive
Paramedics have warned of festive revellers diverting attention away from patients in need of care with the NHS already struggling to cope with demand.
Glenn Radford and Natasha Brooks, who work on East Midlands ambulances, said the surge in demand in winter means many elderly patients have to wait hours before receiving treatment.
They see many cases of drunkenness leading to serious injuries which could otherwise be avoided.
Paramedics have warned of festive revellers diverting attention away from patients in need of care
Ms Brooks told Sky News: ‘Sometimes if we’re dealing with somebody who’s maybe not known their limits then it means that people who are having heart attacks or strokes are waiting a bit longer and every minute that those kind of jobs are waiting it can cause damage to their brain, damage to their heart, and it can ultimately be a more fatal outcome.’
During the night shift, the paramedics were rushed to treat a man who had banged his head on a night out and briefly lost consciousness, and was classed as a high priority.
But earlier that same day, a 93-year-old who had fallen at home had to wait for five hours for an ambulance to arrive with the NHS so stretched.
June Marshall had called 999 for her husband Ted who was still on the floor when the ambulance arrived.
Mr Radford explained ambulances may have been on the way but were diverted to something more urgent.
He said: ‘Honestly, someone like Ted has paid into the system for their entire life and it’s only now in the twilight years that they need us and I feel like we’re failing them.’
Paramedics see many cases of drunkenness leading to serious injuries which could otherwise be avoided
During a typical night shifts ambulances are often diverted from hospitals if they haven’t got space for a patient inside.
When Leicester Royal Infirmary was full, people needing treatment were instead diverted to Nottingham, a journey of more than 25 miles.
Mr Radford said a few weeks ago his crew had to wait three and a half hours before being allowed into the hospital with a patient.
During the election, the funding of the NHS was one of the key battlegrounds, with Jeremy Corbyn accusing Boris Johnson of wanting to sell it off.
Mr Johnson was also haunted by a photograph of a boy being treated on the floor of A&E.
But his pledge to give £34billion more to the NHS and hire more GPs and nurses helped secure him his commanding majority.