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UK’s National Health Trust Drops Down Two More Rungs

You Didn't Really Think It Could Get Any Worse, Did You?

THE NATIONAL HEALTH TRUST SERVICE of Great Britain is known for its incompetence and inability to make good decisions on patient care. This is the outfit that will not dispatch an ambulance to a heart attack call a few feet away from the station if the crew are on their mandatory lunch break. We have also reported on the dispicably dirty conditions in some of the hospitals and their practice of leaving emergency medical victims in the ambulances for up to two hours because they are too busy inside.

More than once Firegeezer has reported on instances where a victim was laying in an inch or two of water but the emergency crew is forbidden under penalty of dismissal from entering water without special training or a boat, even in one inch of dangerous water.

The list goes on, but we don't have time here to fill it out with other outrageous examples because the grandaddy of ambulance dispatches took place a few days ago that we are passing on to you today.  It's been 20 years since Firegeezer ran a medical call, but I sure haven't forgotten the basics.  See how many contra-indicators you can spot:

IAN TAYLOR, A RETIRED ARCHITECT, is lucky to have survived his recent experience with the National Health Trust Service a few days ago.  His ordeal began when he passed out in his home where he lives alone, and struck his head.  After laying unconscious "for hours," he woke up in a pool of blood and called for a doctor.  The doctor came to his house and stopped the bleeding and bandaged Ian up, then left him.  This was despite the fact that he had been unconscious and has a history of stroke. (Most doctors in UK, but not all, are employed in the NHT.  None of the news reports stated whether this doctor is or not…ed.)

Ian Taylor  (SWNS / Jones)

Later that evening Mr. Taylor went out to a party and returned home just before his wound opened up and started bleeding again.

"It was quite scary because I was bleeding profusely," he said.

"I thought ‘What I am going to do now?’ as it was too late to call family or friends at around 11.30pm and I was mindful of the fact I had had a stroke some years ago, so I made the decision to call 999 at 11.49pm."

Little did he know that his adventure was just beginning.  Despite his medical history and having passed out earlier in the day, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust dispatcher coded him as a priority 4 – non-life threatening – and dispatched an ambulance that was over 60 miles away in another county.  It took the ambulance 90 minutes to arrive at Ian's home where they first treated him before putting him in the ambulance and setting off for the Addenbrooke's Hospital which is only three miles from Taylor's home.  The Cambridge News picks up the story:

(they) treated Mr Taylor and set off at 1.55am – only to go the wrong way.

He added: "When we left my house here instead of going right through Shelford to the hospital they went left and got lost. "I can only assume they went through Whittlesford and Sawston and I think they went onto the A505."

By this point he realised they were lost and told the ambulance technician next to him that it shouldn’t be taking so long. Mr Taylor, who has lived in the area for 45 years, said: "He asked the driver who said he was lost and that the sat-nav said Addenbrooke’s doesn’t exist. I thought ‘This is stupid’ as we were so close to Addenbrooke’s.

Addenbrooke's Hospital is hard to see …. because
"it doesn't exist."  (PA photo)

"I said ‘Carry on until I recognise something’ and finally we passed the pub called The Rose at Stapleford and by that time we were heading back towards Cambridge." They arrived at Addenbrooke’s 62 minutes after setting off at 2.57am.

He added that he could have cycled to the hospital in 15 minutes or even walked in less than an hour but was told by the emergency call handler to wait for an ambulance to arrive.

According to another report in the Daily Mail, the ambulance had two "sat-nav" systems installed and both of them were malfunctioning.

Read the full account in the Cambridge News HERE.
More details in the Daily Mail HERE.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • MedicUK
    • Boon Doc

      In reading the article you referenced it seemed to be all about comparing the health systems of the US and UK. The post above was written regarding the criminally negligent actions of a physician, and later, the inability of an ambulance crew to find a local hospital. The ineptitude of the physician and ambulance crew are indefensible. The doctor should have done a more thorough assessment and the ambulance crew should be familiar with the areas they are expected to respond to. Additionally, the medics should also have access to, and been familiar with, old fashioned paper map books in the event that their GPS system failed. I make certain to know my locals and mutual aid coverage areas and know how to read a map. If they were that clueless then they should have used their radio to ask for directions or have the police assist them. Sorry…but you don’t win arguments by making such apples and oranges comparisons. Emotionalism and pithy one liners just don’t cut in when it comes to debate and argumentation. Oh…and for the record…we have our problems on this side of the pond as well…and I would be just as critical of American providers if the situation was reversed.

      • firegeezer

        Doc,  My “one-liners” are summations of scores of stories I’ve reported on from the UK.  Those poor medics are saddled by an overstocked  bureaucracy  that imposes ridiculous burdens on them.  Did you know that some of the ambulance trusts do not permit the amb.crew to use maps?  Seriously.  Thery are under strict orders to follow the GPS guidance EVEN IF THEY KNOW A BETTER ROUTE.  Drivers have been disciplined for not following that rule.  Longtime Firegeezer readers know  about the silly rule that won’t let them go into a 1-inch deep pond to save a victim.  The mandatory lunch break is a major contention with the medics, too.  They want to respond to heart attacks, but the European Union safety quacks won’t allow it.

    • firegeezer

      You can see why many people believe that Los Angeles is rapidly becoming a “third world nation” in itself.  Your example is a product of their own doing.

  • Dan Earle

    Lots of basic errors in the article but then you reference ‘The Daily Mail’ one of the most error ridden U.K. tabloids which wages a war against everything to the left of Gengis Khan. The National Health Trust doesn’t exist, local NHS trusts function as separate entities e.g. the hospital, ambulance service are separate organizations. General practitioners are normally run as a buisness that are contracted by local NHS purchasing arms.

    • firegeezer

      Dan,  Other than my unfamiliarity with the NHS organizational chart, what are some of the errors in the report?

      My base reference was the Cambridge Times.  Are they an error ridden tabloid, too?  How about the BBC News?  They are reporting much the same information on this incident.  Can I not trust them, either?  I always try to corroborate the stories and when I hit 3-for-3 I usually run with it.