WORRIED paramedics have claimed they are sacrificing breaks to answer emergency calls.
Two people claiming to be Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) employees contacted the Post following an article on Wednesday which raised concerns about mounting workloads and difficulties reaching casualties on time.
The WAS Trust said it was investigating these concerns.
Since the trust gave its response, two other paramedics have got in touch. One of them, who claimed to have many years’ experience, alleged the WAS was currently struggling to provide a safe service.
He claimed there was a day this week in the Swansea area when five Category A Red 2 calls, which cover emergencies such as strokes and fits, could not be allocated in the normal manner and had to be broadcast over the radio to all staff.
“It should be the closest vehicle, but they had no-one to send in the Swansea area,” said the man, who did not want to be named. “Staff are volunteering to have one break in their eleven-and-a-half-hour shifts instead of two.
“We have to be strong for each other, but morale is on its knees.”
He alleged that a shortage of staff, cuts in available overtime, and hold-ups discharging patients at hospitals were the root of the problem.
It meant, he claimed, that at one point this week paramedics in the Swansea area were only answering 14 per cent of life-threatening Category A calls within eight minutes. The target is 65 per cent.
He also alleged some ambulance stations and ambulances were “stinking” because crews didn’t have time to clean them.
The other paramedic who contacted the Post said he feared staff sickness levels would rise.
“We are struggling to cover everywhere,” he said. “From a staff point of view, morale is at rock bottom. We are concerned about the public more than anything.”
This summer the Welsh Government urged the public to only ring 999 in the case of a serious medical emergency.
In August the WAS answered 64.1 per cent of its 13,500 Category A calls within eight minutes.
Sue Jenkins, WAS director of service delivery, said it was committed to responding to patients and providing the very best care possible but recognised “the need to do this within the resources that are available to us”.
She added: “We recognise the impact patient hand over delays at hospitals have on staff morale and workload and are working hard with the local health boards to reduce these at all hospitals across Wales.”
Read more from the original source:Paramedics work through breaks to answer 999 calls – This is South Wales.