Medical ‘Golden Hour’ broken with waiting times for ambulances at record high

So Mark Quinn wants to build a new £170m hospital extension shell in Canterbury in return for 2,000 homes adjacent the site. If all goes to plan, Canterbury will become the new A & E centre for the whole of East Kent.

Campaigners in Thanet and Ashford have long said centralising A & E services at Canterbury, would be disastrous for patients who need to get to Hospital within the ‘Golden Hour‘ . The golden hour is the period of time immediately after a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical and surgical treatment will prevent death.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) has revealed its worse response times on record in March 2022. Patients calling 999 after suffering serious conditions such as strokes were left waiting an average of 45 minutes for an ambulance. Add in journey time and the ‘golden hour‘ will have been broken in a vast number ocassions. We commented on patients waiting 9-10 hours in ambulances back in Nov 2021.

So those who live in Lydd or Broadstairs for example would not get to any new A & E within the ‘golden hour’ under the current Secamb times, and lives would be put at substanial risk which in this context means a risk:

“that cannot sensibly be ignored having regard to the nature and gravity of the feared harm in the particular case”

However, one cannot blame Secamb. Ambulance offload times at all A & E Hospitals in the East Kent Trust are taking much, much longer than usual. This then affects when a ambulance can be freed up to come back into circulation to receive waiting patients.

Offload times are up, plus there has been an increased surge of non-ambulance transported patients attending A & E. Plus staff in both EKHUFT & SecambTrust are still coming down with the Covid variant BA.2. As this eases, as we move into summer, things should return to normal (whatever that may be).

Ambulance Crews and NHS staff have endured their worse two years on the job which has been made worse by Covid lockdowns, causing serious backlogs across the NHS. These too will take time to reduce. But more surgery is being carried out within the Trust, so numbers of patients needing operations will slowly reduce. We’ll all just have to learn to a bit more patient, but for a stroke victim, waiting forty five minutes for an ambulance, might just make a bad situation much much worse.

Perhaps the campaigners who are saying no to a new A & E in Canterbury might have a point. But we’ll let you ponder that.

The Shepway Vox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

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