An investigation by Pulse, showing patients who need an ambulance at a GP surgery are routinely facing waits twice as long as patients who call 999 from elsewhere, has been featured across the nationals today.
The major investigation reveals that ambulance trusts across the UK are taking more than double the time on average to attend calls from GPs compared with those made by the public or other services (see map). GPs claim it is due to the mistaken belief that patients are safe if a doctor is present.
In some cases, such differentials are a result of protocols agreed with the healthcare professionals for ambulances to attend patients within one, two or four hours. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
GPs have told Pulse of shocking examples, including cases where they have waited for more than an hour with patients suffering from myocardial infarctions, or sat with patients who had suspected sepsis for over 60 minutes. In one case, a patient with sepsis was made to wait three hours and the GP ran out of the oxygen they were administering.