British ambulances: one hour before the ER

London (AP) – The backlog of rescue vehicles outside emergency rooms in Britain is growing. More than 10,000 ambulances wait at least an hour each week for patients to be taken away, the BBC reported, citing its own assessments.

This means that in mid-November the occupancy of every eighth ambulance was affected. It is the highest level since records began in 2010. The problems would greatly endanger the health of patients, according to the BBC.

Britain’s NHS health service has been at breaking point for years and is chronically underfunded. In December, the workers want to strike for the first time in their history for two days to give more emphasis to their demands for wage increases. The government recently announced additional billions for the service, but rejects wage increases as unaffordable.

Millions of people in the UK are waiting for routine surgery. But as the BBC analysis shows, there are also significant problems with ambulances. The goal is for patients with heart attacks or strokes to be picked up by an ambulance within a maximum period of 18 minutes. But it actually takes more than 60 minutes on average.

The central problem is the transfer to the emergency room: according to the rules, this should be done in 15 minutes, but in reality it takes a multiple of that time. Ambulance drivers also want to demand higher wages with strikes before Christmas.

Regina Anderson

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