COVID-19: Paramedic forced to treat patients in back of ambulance says there was 'nowhere for them to go'

·1-min read

As the rising number of coronavirus cases in England puts more pressure on the NHS, Sky News speaks to a paramedic about the challenges facing the ambulance service.

Will Broughton, who works for the London Ambulance Service, tells his story of being on the front line.

On a shift recently, I was looking after patients in the back of the ambulance at one hospital, because there was simply nowhere for them to go.

The hospital was full. The emergency department was full.

There's an awful lot of patients that need our help, both in the ambulance service and in the hospital setting.

We are really struggling to manage the demand.

Compared to previous winters that I've worked, that my colleagues have worked, this is something that we've just never experienced before.

There are more patients calling 999 and 111 than we have ever seen in the past.

Those control room staff are having to make incredibly difficult decisions to decide who gets an ambulance and in what order, quite often with huge numbers of people waiting.

Some patients are very unwell and their oxygen levels are very low.

We're putting them on oxygen in the ambulance, transporting them to hospital and then waiting for a space to be made available for them in the hospital if they're full.

There are staff shortages because of isolation and sickness due to coronavirus symptoms, and that is having a profound effect on morale.

We're happy to do as much as we can and we are very resilient as a group of staff. But that resilience is running out and we urgently need more help, more resources, and to prioritise the vaccine for frontline staff.