A shocking example reached the SKWAWKBOX today of the near-collapse of the NHS under Tory-imposed cash-starvation.
‘F’, a young mother on the Wirral peninsula in north-west England, was preparing to go on holiday when her young child became ill – so ill that a ‘111’ operator called for an ambulance to be despatched immediately to the sick and unresponsive young boy. I’ll let ‘F’ tell the story in her own words:
I’m feeling very strongly about the state of our NHS just now. My youngest has had a bad sickness bug for 48 hours (so bad we are right now meant to be in Portugal but had to cancel as he wasn’t fit to travel).
I’ve got 3 kids and so I’ve been through most illnesses several times and sick bugs can linger. After him throwing up for 48 hours he had zero energy and is super lethargic. He had been asleep from 10 am and by midday I was concerned. It was very difficult to wake him. So I rang 111 expecting to get the GP to call me back.
The operator went through a series of questions and I was trying to wake him while on with the operator. He would open his eyes but wasn’t responsive to anything I was saying. The operator advised he was dispatching an ambulance.
This was 12:35. At 13:20 no ambulance had arrived. He was breathing so I wasn’t panicking but thought it was a good job he was as otherwise he’d have been dead by now. I tried to wake him and sit him up and he was floppy and hot and his eyes wouldn’t stay open.
At 13:28 I dialled 999. I was put in a queue! A couple of minutes later an operator answered. I advised I was getting worried now as he was still so sleepy. She advised they are inundated today. She said she would update my call as an emergency (111 must be less important?). Then she stayed on the line while i attempted to wake him.
I was talking to her for 8 minutes and he came around and asked for a drink. As he was now responding she asked if she could leave the call to answer another call. I said fine as he was improving. She said ambulance would still be out as they need to check him and do observations. By now it was almost an hour since I called 999 and 2 hours since I called 111.
As quick as kids get ill they can improve. I didn’t ask for ambulance but clearly his symptoms triggered an alert on the 111 operator’s system. The operator said as he wasn’t responding (and he really wasn’t) he needed an ambulance. I would never waste NHS time unnecessarily. I was still waiting for the ambulance as I’m not allowed to cancel it – they have to make the call apparently.
Eventually, the ambulance and paramedics arrived. I told them he’d made a turn around, temperature right back down and was sat up. I asked if because I’d let the operator know he was now responding they’d downgraded him from an emergency. The paramedic said NO – he was still down as an urgent priority.
So I called 999 at 13:28 and they didn’t arrive until 15:50. Isn’t that outrageous????
I feel like I can’t complain since my kid is ok. But imagine he hadn’t improved?! 2.5 hours for an ambulance that is down as an emergency/priority 1 is bloody scary.
Our NHS is so stretched. People are dying because they can’t get help in time.
I felt sick when she confirmed he was down as priority yet took 2.5 hours to reach us – and we’re not in the middle of nowhere or anything.
It broke my heart a bit at the state of things.
The Tories will lie without scruple and claim they’re protecting NHS funding, but nobody can look for two minutes at the reality in our hospitals and GP practices and be fooled.
Anyone who cares about the NHS or about children must feel the same. If you value the NHS and care about people, there’s simply no other option but to kick out the Tories on 8 June.
Your life or your child’s life may depend on it.
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