I’m writing in response to the article you placed on The Bolton News website on the 3rd December 2019 titled “Ambulance service named 'worst in the country' leaving more than 100,000 waiting”

I have worked for the ambulance service for nearly 15 years and have taken my fair share of bashing from the press for our issues over the years but this title has really made me upset.

Upon reading the article it states that over 102,000 patients in the North West have waited over 30 minutes to be handed over once they have arrived at hospital.

The ambulance crews have absolutely no control over this time as it is the pressures on the hospital emergency departments that will dictate how quickly they can take the patients in from the crews.

Where the ambulance service is timed is the response time from call to door based on severity of the call and the handover of a patient in hospital to clearing ready for another response (which is currently 10 minutes).

We are very busy (I’m not denying this) we are answering more calls per day now than ever before (over 1 million calls per year) and the delays on handing over a patient in the emergency department does have a knock on effect on the care we can provide out in the community for a patient who is waiting for us.

What it doesn’t do though is affect the treatment the patient receives whilst the crew are waiting to hand over.

They are still with fully trained ambulance staff (Paramedics or Technicians) who will stay with the patient until they are handed over to the hospital teams.

Another thing that I feel I need to bring up is to celebrate the hard work the Paramedics and Ambulance technicians actually do on a daily basis.

When I started nearly 15 years ago we saw around four patients a day and near 100 per centt of those went into hospital. Today a crew can see between eight to 12 patients per day and only 60 per cent of those will attend hospital. This is because of the skills the crews have to successfully assess, treat and refer patients avoiding them the need to go into hospital at all.

Most of the staff I have the pleasure of working with are passionate about their job, they enjoy caring for people in their hour of need, they hate arriving at the patient home late because of pressures, they hate waiting on corridors knowing there are other patients wanting their help, they hate people abusing the service knowing there are genuine people still waiting for help, but I know most of them will also hate the fact they are given a bad rep for something that is completely out of their control.

Richard Harrison

Senior Paramedic