Strikes won't impact adequacy of ambulance service says caller who 'laid in back of ambulance dying' last Christmas

21 December 2022, 15:40 | Updated: 21 December 2022, 15:47

This caller recalls her horror at being denied an ambulance

By Abbie Reynolds

"Nothing has changed, strikes or not": This sepsis survivor tells Shelagh Fogarty the ambulance service almost killed her last year even though there were no strikes.

Ambulance workers have begun strike action with a second walkout set to go ahead the week following Christmas.

With many concerned about paramedics striking over the Christmas period, this caller phoned Shelagh Fogarty's show to say it'll make no difference since there were no strikes last Christmas and there was still "no ambulance service".

READ MORE: Strikes could mean police are too busy filling in for the NHS to tackle burglaries and stabbings, Met chief warns

Kate from Frome called in and said: "It's my years anniversary of surviving sepsis, nothing has changed. Whether the ambulance workers are on strike or not.

"Last Christmas there was no ambulance service. I went into Christmas with a urinary tract infection, I was unable to access antibiotics. 111 gave me bad advice four times, I spoke to a doctor who told me to wait until the bank holiday - which if I had taken that advice I would be dead."

The sepsis survivor continued: "In the end, we had to call an ambulance, I waited four hours."

Upon calling the emergency service again the caller said she was "shouted at" and told: "If you aren't having a heart attack or a stroke you're just going to have to wait."

Explaining the severity of her condition she told Shelagh: "I laid for four hours, in the back of the ambulance dying.

"By the time I got into casualty, I was completely gone by then, I spent three weeks in intensive care and two months in hospital, I lost my kidney, I had to have my bowel moved - I've had massive abdominal surgery."

She said the inadequacy of the ambulance service has "cost the government a lot of money" because since the incident she's had to have "disability benefits [and] physiotherapy".

Shelagh used the caller's incident as an example of why paramedics feel urged to take industrial action:

"The reality is before today's strike action that's what happened to you, the pressure on the service is real and it is huge."

READ MORE: Patient's 300-yard trip from hospital helipad to ward becomes 50-mile journey amid 'truly terrifying' ambulance shortage

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