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GPs go forth

When GPs have been left to deal with emergency situations

GPs anonymously reveal the scenarios in which they are left waiting with acutely unwell patients for long periods after calling 999

As part of an investigation looking into claims by GPs that their 999 calls are being downgraded by under-pressure ambulance services, Pulse heard from GPs about how they are left dealing with patients:

  • 'We had a fitting alcoholic patient. We called for an ambulance at 6pm. At 8pm it had still not arrived, the surgery closed and staff went home. So a partner had to come into the surgery to monitor the patient and ended up taking the patient to hospital in their car'
  • 'I was with a family member at their house and called an ambulance for a probable MI. After 40 minutes no ambulance had been allocated so the patient was taken to hospital in their own car'
  • 'I was told a palliative care patient who had a fractured neck of femur would have a 14-hour wait. Waited several hours with a new-born who had a critical heart condition. Was later advised that the condition was time critical and the baby only just survived'
  • 'A cardiac arrest patient died waiting. We had an hour’s delay for a lady with sepsis and respiratory failure. She subsequently died'
  • 'A patient collapsed in the practice because of a spine fracture. We waited for over three hours for an ambulance to attend. The patient died in hospital'
  • 'We waited more than two and a half hours with a child who had sepsis'
  • 'We had a 40-minute wait with a child who had suspected meningitis and dehydration. An elderly patient waited eight hours. There were several phone calls from annoyed relatives to the surgery and we had to call the ambulance service three times'

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