Woman, 72, forced to wait 13 hours in ambulance - but vows to support strikers

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Kathleen Philipson spent 13 hours stuck in an ambulance
Kathleen Philipson spent 13 hours stuck in an ambulance

Daran Philipson’s 72-year-old mum Kathleen spent a miserable 13 hours stuck in an ambulance on a hospital forecourt as the crew waited to hand her over to doctors.

He and his mum remain fully behind the strikes - otherwise, the government simply won’t listen, he says.

“We began the wait in the ambulance as a priority patient but by the end felt completely and utterly forgotten,” said Daran, 45, a transport administrator who lives with his mum in Solihull and travelled with her to the hospital that day.

“The staff did all they could to look after my mum, but it is not their job to nurse patients for long periods. There were no nurses available because they were already looking after so many people in the hospital.

Woman, 72, forced to wait 13 hours in ambulance - but vows to support strikers eridzriquhikeinvDaran Philipson with her mum Kathleen

“The crew told me the hospital could not cope with the sheer volume of emergency calls on top of people struggling to see their GP.”

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An ambulance was called to their home early on a Sunday afternoon after Kathleen, who suffers from COPD and had Covid, developed a fast heartbeat.

Daran said: “She tested positive for Covid a couple of weeks before, and we had seen a doctor who said that she would be better off at home unless her breathing became worse.”

An ambulance was called to their home after Kathleen, who also suffers from COPD, developed a fast heartbeat.

The ambulance arrived at their home within an hour and they arrived at Heartlands Hospital 25 minutes later - but then spent the next 13 hours waiting on the forecourt.

Kathleen was unable to lie down due to suffering from curvature of the spine, so was confined to a chair.

Woman, 72, forced to wait 13 hours in ambulance - but vows to support strikersKathleen supports striking nurses

Daran said: “It wasn’t very comfortable for her but there was no choice.”

He said he counted 17 other ambulances outside waiting to handover.

Kathleen was put on a drip due to dehydration and her bloods were taken while in the ambulance but the rest of the time was spent waiting.

After arriving at Heartlands Hospital at 2:18pm on December 18th, she was transferred to to hospital staff care at 3:57am the following day.

Daran added: “I saw firsthand what is happening, and that is why I support the strikes - something drastic has to happen for the Government to take notice.

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Woman, 72, forced to wait 13 hours in ambulance - but vows to support strikersKathleen suffered as she was unable to lie down

“The crew were due to go off shift, but they couldn’t because they were waiting with us,” he said. “I felt so guilty about that. They were lovely and never showed any frustration. We were the cause of them missing the end of that shift, and they couldn’t go home.

“We could tell they were tired, but they were doing their best. They never got grouchy. But we just felt we are keeping them there because they have got to look after us. They had no breaks because they were with us.”

In hospital, Kathleen was given a nebuliser to help with her breathing. Medics did an ECG, checked blood pressure and heart trace. After receiving test results, Kathleen was discharged at 10pm on Monday.

NHS guidelines state an ambulance crew should be able to hand over all patients within 15 minutes of arriving at A&E.

Daran added: “Previously when my mum has been to A&E, the most she’s waited for is three to four hours. I always thought it was an amazing service - we quite rightly should be envied across the world for our NHS. How terrible things have got is heartbreaking.

“The NHS deserves more investment in its staff. Things are only going to get worse if nothing changes.”

Speaking of her experience, Kathleen, who is now on a new medication, said: “It was a very frightening time waiting in the ambulance. But it had nothing to do with the strikes so just shows how bad things are.

“I’ve always been so proud of our NHS. The staff who were with me were doing the best they could but deserve more recognition.”

Daran added: “Politicians have been able to ignore the working conditions and scare stories. They can’t keep doing that.”

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry for any delay, however, there is currently a huge and sustained demand for urgent and emergency care, alongside the continuing impact of Covid-19 and, more recently, a significant rise in flu and respiratory admissions.

“Many improvements have been made in reducing handover delays by over 50% in the past three months and we continue to work closely with health system partners, including the ambulance service, to reduce delays further and ensure clinical teams can safely see and treat all patients needing care.”

Sanjeeta Bains

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