Prehospital Care in Hampshire
– The Current State
Is it right a charity determines whether you live or die – or recover better?
We say no! no! no!
We attend incidents every month where, without our interventions, the patient would have died: this is our real life experience. Or they’might have recovered less well – one of the saddest things for them and their family.
Our paramedic colleagues deal brilliantly with the vast majority of 999 calls (and we couldn’t do without their support, knowledge and team work – and we train with them).
But the Medical Director of the South Central Ambulance Service himself reckons there are up to ten patients a day where advanced doctor-led care is needed to save lives and improve outcomes. That’s 3650 patients a year.
Responding in our spare time we can only get to a third of these cases at best – not because we don’t want to – but because we are working fulltime in the NHS, in hospitals and surgeries across the county.
So in Hampshire – as everywhere in England & Wales with one exception – people will be dying because of the absence of an appropriately trained and skilled doctor who can attend them immediately.
But there is one place in England where you call 999, you’re critically ill or injured, and you get top quality service.
And the one place?
The one exception is London (talk about a postcode lottery!)
The London Air Ambulance Service (www.londonsairambulance.com) has skilled doctors on board providing advanced medical help throughout London and within the M25 corridor.
During daylight hours the service uses a helicopter to get the medical team to the patient’s side as quickly as possible and during the hours of dark the teams use blue-light, marked cars. The helicopter bit is supported by the Virgin group, the doctors are paid by the NHS as part of the Royal London Hospital. Everyone in London and the M25 corridor loves it. and so they should!
In Hampshire, we are lucky to have the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance which provide a hugely popular and much needed service – but the NHS doesn’t pay for doctors on board, most of which come from voluntary service from BASICS Hampshire doctors. And of course – as the London experience shows – there are times when air ambulances don’t fly (night, bad weather, no landing spots in dense urban areas) and where cars can get there.
And did you know?
All of those orange-suited doctors who went down the tunnels in the horrendous tragedy of 7/7 were BASICS doctors, or from the London air ambulance.
Cross? are we cross?
At BASICS Hampshire we’re more than cross. We are angry. We know this is one part of the NHS where patients’ needs are simply ignored.
We know people are dying needlessly because there’s no 24/7 service (outside London) for people who need vital emergency care before they get to hospital to give them the best chance of life and recovery.
If you’re cross, let us know.