Essex woman dies after waiting nearly four hours for ambulance

From The Guardian: An 81-year-old woman was found dead in her house after waiting almost four hours for an ambulance.

The pensioner, who lived in Clacton, Essex, called 999 on Tuesday complaining of chest pains, according to the GMB union. East of England (EEAST) ambulance service said a crew arrived three hours and 45 minutes after the initial call.

Ambulance services, like hospitals, have struggled to cope in the midst of the NHS’s winter crisis. Last week, EEAST raised its operational level to the highest possible, an indication that its ability to respond to potentially life-threatening incidents had been affected. In some cases, it used taxis to transport patients to hospital.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

16,900 people in a week kept in NHS ambulances waiting for hospital care

From The Guardian: Record numbers of patients were forced to wait in the backs of ambulances last week as hospitals in England struggled to cope with demand for medical treatment as the NHS’s winter crisis began in earnest.

In all, 16,900 people – the highest number this winter – were stuck in the backs of ambulances waiting to enter an A&E unit to be assessed and treated in the week from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve.

Of those, 4,700 – again the most in any week this winter – had to endure a delay of at least an hour, according to NHS England’s latest figures, published on Thursday, on how the service is performing under the extra pressure that winter brings.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

NHS considers launching Airbnb scheme to cope with bed shortages

From the Guardian: Patients recovering from surgery could be discharged from hospital to recuperate in private houses nearby as part of an NHS trial.

The scheme, which is being piloted in Essex, aims to tackle bed shortages and save money but has been criticised by medical professionals and social workers who warn it would give too much responsibility to untrained members of the public. Read more

NHS nurses are too busy to care for patients properly, research shows

From The Guardian: One in three hospital nurses are too busy to relieve patients’ pain, give them their medication on time or talk to them and their families, research reveals.

Fifty-three percent of nurses fear the quality of care patients receive is suffering because they cannot do everything they need to do during their shift, according to a survey of 30,000 nurses.

And nurses are being left responsible for the care of as many as 25 hospital patients at a time, even though official guidelines say that to ensure patient safety it should not be more than eight. Read more

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