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Patients die waiting as ambulance crew stuck at hospital: 76% of staff at covid breaking point

18 Jan 2021
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Staff crying out for better protection as worker describes horror as taxi pulls up in ambulance bay with a dead man while desperate wife shouts for help

Three quarters of ambulance staff are at breaking point, with patients dying while waiting for crews that are trapped at hospital with confirmed covid cases, a GMB survey reveals.

The same number say morale is at an all time low, while more than 60% say the current PPE provision is unsafe.

A massive 93% are crying out for better protection – the PPE they are given just isn’t fit for purpose, and is a massive factor in why the situation is so desperate.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer

Other figures from the survey of more than 2,000 ambulance staff include:

  • 93% support upgrade to PPE

  • 61% say current PPE is unsafe

  • 67% say ‘this is much worse than march’

  • 76% say colleagues are at breaking point

  • 75% say morale at an all-time low

Other terrifying response reveal:

  • People are dying waiting for ambulances whilst crews are stuck at hospital with covid confirmed patients. We had a taxi pull up in an ambulance bay with a dead male while his wife was shouting for help. It's very scary for us all.

  • In 24 years in the ambulance service I’ve never ever seen staff sat on station at the start of the shift so frightened (almost to tears) to go out on an ambulance

  • Worst morale of staff I have ever seen. Staff crying and scared.

  • Staff overwhelmed - calls waiting are in their hundreds for hours on end with little or no resources to send

  • More staff off sick with covid than in the first wave, hospitals queuing patients.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:

“This cannot go on – something has got to give. Ambulance staff are going if sick in droves while the service collapses around them, despite their heroic efforts.

“A massive 93% are crying out for better protection – the PPE they are given just isn’t fit for purpose, and is a massive factor in why the situation is so desperate.

“Ambulance PPE needs addressing urgently or more people will die unnecessarily – including out ambulance workers.”

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