The brutal reality of working for Britain’s struggling emergency service has been revealed through a striking new documentary showing how deadly delays became commonplace.
The raw footage – taken during the darkest days of the NHS’ busiest winter – shows overflowing A&E wards, with corridors packed with patients who have spent more than 20 hours waiting to be seen.
Cameras also capture the last hours of one man, after a long delay in getting him proper treatment.
All the gruesome clips were captured in secret by Daniel Waterhouse, a 30-year-old paramedic who bravely sacrificed his 999 career in order to reveal the terrifying reality of life in the NHS.
During his final service last week after his resignation, he hopes his testimony, which is due to be broadcast by Channel 4 on Thursday evening, will “help incite change” and that “something will be done”.
Raw footage captured by Daniel Waterhouse, a 30-year-old paramedic, during the darkest days of the NHS’ worst winter ever, shows corridors swarming with patients.
Mr Waterhouse, from Finchley, north London, who qualified as an emergency technician in 2021, records conditions within A&E departments across Watford and Barnet.
Asked about his decision to sound the whistle, Waterhouse, who was working for the East of England Ambulance Service during the investigation, told The Sunday Times: ‘It was a moral choice.
And there’s a caveat to that too, because stealth in these situations could be seen as unethical and would draw criticism I’m sure.
But I think patient safety outweighs that.
And those occasions were so strong in my mind that I thought, “If only there was some change, where some people didn’t have to go through that and die or suffer a permanent disability, then it would be worth it.”
Mr Waterhouse, from Finchley, North London, qualified as an Emergency Technician in 2021.
During his final service last week after his resignation, Mr Waterhouse (pictured above) hopes his evidence, which is due to be broadcast by Channel 4 on Thursday night, will ‘help incite change’
Conditions captured from within A&E departments across Watford and Barnet between November 2022 and January.
On one occasion, a girl who had injured her leg in a dance competition, screaming in pain, was taken to the emergency and accident department at Watford General Hospital on a picnic table by her parents.
They said they were told it was a 20-hour wait for an ambulance.
In another scene, the footage shows a woman suffering from an epileptic seizure being stuck on a cart in line in a hospital corridor.
One family also told Mr. Waterhouse that they had been waiting in the driveway at A&E for at least 20 hours.
The faces of all NHS patients and staff are blurred to protect their identities.
Recounting his experience working in the service, he told the Sunday Times: ‘We’ve had patients die left, right and centre.
“I remember one of the worst things was asking the nurses to make a human shield with our bodies, standing side by side so they could get the bodies out of the emergency room without the patients seeing the body bags while they waited to go into the ward. That was horrible.
He added, “We have entered a state of normalization, where people just accept that things are like this.
I had no illusions that filming for Dispatch would be definitively the end of my career, but I wanted to do something that might help bring about change.
Results of the bloody survey revealed during the program also revealed that more than half of the 1,200 ambulance workers surveyed saw a patient die because of delays in an ambulance or another part of the care system.
On one occasion, footage recorded by Daniel Waterhouse shows a young girl who had injured her leg in a dance competition, being carried, screaming in pain, to the accident and emergency department of Watford General Hospital on a picnic table by her parents. They said they were told it was a 20-hour wait for an ambulance
The results of the bloody survey revealed during the program also revealed that more than half of the 1,200 ambulance workers surveyed had seen a patient die because of delays in an ambulance or another part of the care system.
About 30 percent of those surveyed by the union GMB, which represents ambulance workers, also knew this had happened to a colleague.
Speaking on the Dispatch, Adrian Boyle, chair of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), said: “The problem isn’t an increase in calls to ambulances, not a lot of ambulances going to the ED – the problem is that there aren’t enough spaces within hospitals.
He added: “I can’t believe we are in a country like this taking care of patients in the corridors. It’s wrong on so many levels.
A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Services Trust said: ‘Severe seasonal pressures and delivery delays at hospitals, due to complexities within the wider health and care system, have significantly affected our ability to respond.
We regret that EEAST has often not been able to attend to our most critical patients as quickly as we would like, and we apologize to those directly impacted.
“We have seen improvements in response times but our service, along with the wider NHS, remains under significant pressure.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘No one should have to wait longer than necessary to access urgent and emergency care, and waiting times have fallen dramatically from the peak of winter stress in December.
Our urgent and emergency care recovery plan, welcomed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, will allow people to be seen faster by scaling up community teams, expanding virtual wards and getting 800 new ambulances on the road. This is on top of the £750m we delivered this winter to accelerate hospital discharge and beds.
There are more than 44,300 additional staff working in the NHS compared to last year. We want to build on this progress and will publish a workforce plan this year focused on hiring and retaining more employees.
January saw some slight relief to ambulance response times as Britons suffering from suspected heart attacks and strokes only had to wait an average of 32 minutes for an ambulance – less than 90 minutes in December. However, the figure is still double the official target that Britons should wait an average of just 18 minutes in such an emergency.
The latest NHS A&E data for January shows that 42,735 people seeking emergency care were forced to wait at least 12 hours (yellow bar). Meanwhile, only 72.4 per cent of A&E attendees were seen within four hours (red line) the NHS target
NHS figures reveal patients occupied an average of 13,959 beds declared fit for discharge by doctors each day in January, a new monthly record, according to NHS figures.
More than 23,000 patients may have died last year because of unacceptably long waiting times at A&E, a damning report revealed last week.
Delays can occur due to A&E units being overwhelmed by too many ambulances at one time, as well as a lack of space within hospitals, due in part to record levels of bed blockers.
NHS data shows that, on average, there were 13,959 beds occupied by patients declared fit for discharge by doctors each day in January.
The health service said this equated to less than half (45.8 per cent) of patients who were ready to leave hospital after discharge.
Meanwhile, demand for A&E has also risen due to difficulties in accessing general practitioners.
One in five patients who were unable to get a face-to-face appointment with their local doctor showed up at hospitals instead, according to a poll by the Liberal Democrats.
Ambulance response times have also put more pressure on emergency and operations departments.
The latest NHS data also shows paramedics took 32 minutes, on average, to respond to victims of heart attacks and strokes in January.
While it is a huge improvement on the record set by Class 2 callers waiting an hour and a half in December, it is still almost double the NHS target.
On average, 999 crews must be on site within 18 minutes for such calls.
NHS ambulance crews have also failed to meet time targets for the most life-threatening emergencies.
Across England, average response times to most life-threatening calls, such as cardiac arrest, were eight minutes 30 seconds – compared to the NHS target of seven minutes.
Almost one in four calls went unanswered, with the British surrendering before the operators could be answered.
Slow response times are affected by a catalog of factors, though delivery delays are one of the biggest issues.
Under NHS targets, ambulance crews arriving at A&E aim to complete all patient deliveries within 15 minutes.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk