On Friday 23/7/16 The Observer reported yet another example of a patient waiting hours for her ambulance transport.
The unfortunately named new ‘provider’ of ambulance services, Coperforma, seems to be failing to do what the first four letters of its title suggest it should.
My 90-year-old friend was referred to the Conquest by his caring GP on the same day. He received very good treatment, after a four-and-a-half-hour wait, but the main difficulty was getting him home again by ambulance transport, which was essential.
The person staying with him left in the late evening after 13 hours and the patient finally got home on Saturday morning.
Apparently the most alarming sight witnessed during this experience was the number of nursing staff having to be constantly on the phone to an ambulance control system who were not reachable?
Apart from the obvious frustrations all round and a complete failure to meet its contractual obligations by the new ‘service’, tying up medical staff with this task in an already overstretched situation is pretty appalling and even more hopelessly inefficient.
When ‘Noperforma’ took over several weeks ago and immediately crashed the system, attempts were made to suggest that vital computer listings information had been withheld in some way by the previously competent system. Even if there had been any truth in that, it does not explain the current disinterested, disastrous performance level that is ongoing.
I’m not referring to ambulance staff of course -they are no doubt caught in the middle and deserve our absolute respect.
At least three questions need answering directly - Who are the bright sparks that actually awarded the new contract in the first place? Was it price based? Why haven’t Performa been dismissed by now? Realistic systems in place at the front end - more telephonists perhaps? It looks remarkably like buck passing and excuses to those of us who are not professionally involved and powerless. Whether you are in medical need or simply buying a ticket to win these days; remember it’s all , to some extent, a ‘Health Lottery’ now.
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