Patients 'forced to wait in the back of ambulance for five hours'

Patients are forced to wait in the back of ambulance for FIVE HOURS after huge surge in 999 calls

  • Twenty ambulances ‘were waiting outside Leicester Royal Infirmary on Friday’
  • One paramedic reportedly took to social media to say patients waited five hours
  • Added pressure of coronavirus patients on usual winter admission surge blamed

Patients have reportedly been forced to wait up to five hours in the back of ambulances at a hospital after a huge surge in 999 calls.

Up to 20 ambulances were reportedly queuing up outside Leicester Royal Infirmary on Friday night after a spike in emergency call outs. 

The added pressure of coronavirus patients, mixed with the usual winter surge in admissions, is said to be to blame.

The area’s ambulance service has now reportedly put an emergency divert in place to send patients to other hospitals in a bid to prevent another build-up.

Hospital staff have also reportedly pleaded with residents in the area not to call for an ambulance unless absolutely necessary.

According to Leicestershire Live, one under-pressure paramedic took to social media to issue a plea.  

The paramedic said: ‘It soon became a 5-hour wait on the back of ambulances. Imagine your loved one sat on the back of an ambulance for that long.

Up to 20 ambulances were reportedly stuck outside Leicester Royal Infirmary on Friday night after a spike in emergency call outs

‘Next time you ring 999, think, do you REALLY need an ambulance?’

Another unnamed medic told the website:  ‘I can’t remember it ever being that busy before. 

‘Ambulances were diverted. I can’t think of a time we’ve ever had to turn patients away.’

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) says it was experiencing a ‘high volume of calls’ recently, with sources telling Leicestershire Live that patients struggling to get GP appointments were instead calling 999.

The service said it was urging people to call 111 – the NHS’ non-emergency helpline – to get advice before calling 999 if necessary.  

EMAS says it has a divert in place to send patients to other hospitals where possible.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Leicester’s Hospitals – the trust which operates Leicester Royal Infirmary and other hospitals in the area – told Leicestershire Live that the ‘end of last week was particularly busy’. 

The spokesperson also said the trust was ‘sorry to anyone affected’.

MailOnline has contacted Leicester’s Hospitals and EMAS for a comment.  

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Leicester’s Hospitals – the trust which operates Leicester Royal Infirmary and other hospitals in the area – told Leicestershire Live that the ‘end of last week was particularly busy’

Nightingale hospitals are treating fewer than 30 patients and only one of the seven facilities across England is open 

By Holly Bancroft and Sam Merriman for Mail on Sunday 

Fewer than 30 people are currently being treated in Nightingale hospitals, despite the recent rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

Only one of the seven facilities across the country is open, with two more ‘ready to take patients’ if needed.

The 750-bed Nightingale in Manchester is caring for a few dozen patients who have now tested negative for the coronavirus but are in need of step-down care after a stay in hospital.

The Nightingale hospitals in Sunderland and Harrogate have been asked to be ready for patients.

On Friday, there were 13,328 people in hospital with Covid, including 1,158 on ventilators.

In the first wave of the pandemic, seven Nightingale hospitals were built at a cost of £220 million.

The NHS was, however, largely able to cope so only two were used, with around 200 people treated.

There has been speculation that the Nightingales could be used as centres to provide vaccinations.

It comes as today it was reported that Britain’s coronavirus growth rate is ‘slowing’ according to the head of the Office for National Statistics, as the country records a further 168 Covid deaths and 24,962 new cases.

Today’s death toll is a rise of just 7.7 per cent on the 156 deaths reported last Sunday in a hopeful sign that fatalities may be flattening out.

The total number of cases reported today is 21 per cent higher than the figure recorded last Sunday.

However, today’s case load is one of the lower numbers seen this week after the Government recorded 26,860 positive tests yesterday, 27,301 on Friday and a massive 33,470 on Thursday.

Furthermore, ONS figures released this week showed that while daily case totals have been increasing recently, they are doing so at a slower rate than previous weeks.

Figures are usually lower on Sunday and Monday due to reporting delays over the weekend.

Earlier today, the head of the ONS said that growth in infections is ‘slowing’ too.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond says that while there remains an increase in the number of Covid cases, the data shows a ‘slowdown in the rate of growth’, providing a small ray of hope for an end to harsh countrywide restrictions.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that Britain is in the grip of a second wave spurred on by teenagers and young adults – who are also starting to see a drop in the rate of infections.

Sir Ian said: ‘The good news is – yes – we are seeing a slow down in the rate of growth.

‘That means we’re still increasing and we are now in England at 1.25 per 1,000. That means that one in 85 people in England, we believe, have the virus.

‘In Wales, a little less at one in 100, in Scotland one in 135 and Northern Ireland one in 105. So yes we are continuing to increase the numbers, but the rate of growth is slowing.’

England recorded 21,998 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, while Wales reported 1,333. Scotland recorded 1,159 and Northern Ireland reported 472 new cases.

It comes as a weekly report from the Office for National Statistics found that England’s outbreak had stayed relatively flat in the first week of November, with only a four per cent rise in daily infections, indicating a potential slow down in the virus’ spread.

Meanwhile, it was revealed this week that fewer than 30 people are currently being treated in Nightingale hospitals, despite the recent rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

Only one of the seven facilities across the country is open, with two more ‘ready to take patients’ if needed.

The 750-bed Nightingale in Manchester is caring for a few dozen patients who have now tested negative for the coronavirus but are in need of step-down care after a stay in hospital.

The Nightingale hospitals in Sunderland and Harrogate have been asked to be ready for patients.

On Friday, there were 13,328 people in hospital with Covid, including 1,158 on ventilators.

The NHS was, however, largely able to cope so only two were used, with around 200 people treated.

There has been speculation that the Nightingales could be used as centres to provide vaccinations.

Dietitians, opticians and other non-essential NHS staff ask for pre-Christmass pay rise – but critics describe move as ‘cynical’

By Connor Boyd, Health Reporter for MailOnline 

Dietitians, opticians and other non-essential NHS staff  have asked for a pre-Christmas pay rise during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson has promised a salary bump to doctors, nurses and other workers who have been fighting coronavirus on the front lines by next April.

There has been widespread public support for the move in part because more than 600 of them lost their lives battling the disease during the first wave.

However, 14 health unions have written to the Prime Minister calling for a pay rise for 1.3million NHS staff next month, warning that thousands of medics could leave unless the ‘right decision’ is made.

The unions demanding action include the British Dietetic Association, British Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and College of Podiatry.

The Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank slammed these groups for being opportunistic and trying to piggyback on the public support for frontline workers, who’ve bore the brunt of the UK’s crisis.

Almost all NHS services were cancelled during the first lockdown in spring to protect the health service and most are still operating at extremely limited capacity due to heightened infection control and social distancing guidelines. 

The fourteen unions have warned NHS staff could quit in droves if the PM doesn’t bump up their salaries heading into the deep winter months, when Covid-19 hospital cases are expected to soar.

In their letter today, they wrote: ‘They feel stressed, burned out and fearful. It is increasingly unrealistic to ask them to carry on regardless.

‘The pandemic has affected staff profoundly and many may not stay around when the job is done.

‘Raising pay this year could persuade them to change their minds and prove attractive to thousands of much-needed potential NHS recruits.

‘Times may be tough but you know morally this is the right decision to take.’

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, told MailOnline not only was it ‘cynical’ that non-frontline staff were trying to demand a pay rise, it was also ‘economically impossible’ in the current climate.

Mr Snowdon added that although at certain points ‘this has been the busiest time ever for the NHS’, for large parts of the year it has also ‘been the quietest, even for nurses’.

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