Harrowing call sets out the NHS crisis in London through the eyes of one LBC listener

8 January 2021, 16:52 | Updated: 8 January 2021, 17:03

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the shocking personal account of one caller's three-hour wait for an ambulance to arrive and help her friend.

Tracy from Romford called LBC and told a harrowing tale of waiting for an ambulance while London's overstretched emergency services struggled to respond due to coronavirus.

Speaking to LBC's Eddie Mair the caller said her close friend called her in a distressed state, barely able to breathe.

"She said to me, 'I don't think I'm going to make it through this...'."

Tracy told Eddie she called an ambulance straight away and made her way over to her friend's house, but as she is shielding she was unable to go inside.

The LBC listener then described an agonising three-hour wait where all she could do was watch her friend's condition deteriorate though the window.

Read more: London Mayor Sadiq Khan declares 'major incident' due to Covid spread

She said after an hour and a half she called the ambulance service back but they told her they were "inundated with emergency calls."

Demonstrating just how busy the capital's emergency services are, Tracy said she then got a call from the West Midlands Ambulance Service who were offering assistance with breathing advice.

Eddie had his head in his hands for much of the call...
Eddie had his head in his hands for much of the call... Picture: LBC

But, tragically Tracy was unable to accept their help as she was monitoring her friend through a window.

After three hours the ambulance arrived, but her friend then faced a longer wait at hospital and her friend was treated in the carpark.

Read more: London's Nightingale to open in 'coming days', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

Read more: NHS staff at London hospital speak of exhaustion in rare ward footage

Tracy told LBC she thought London's Mayor was right to declare a major incident in the capital, "we're in trouble," she said.

Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" as the spread of coronavirus threatens to "overwhelm" the capital's hospitals.

City Hall said Covid-19 cases in London have exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while there are 35% more people in hospital with the virus than at the peak of the pandemic in April.

A "major incident" means the "severity of the consequences" associated with it are "likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident".

The heartbreaking call comes as the Government announced a further 1,325 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 - the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began.

This brings the UK total to 79,833.