Long Waits for Ambulances Become a Health Risk

Doctors have warned that disabled children’s lives are being put at risk due to increasing waits for ambulances. A recent study by the British Medical Association found that almost half of the ambulance services in England regularly miss the target response time for blue light calls involving patients under 19 years old. The report shows that this is particularly severely affecting disabled children and young people, who often require urgent medical attention due to their conditions.

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“We know that many disabled children have complex health needs, but it’s simply unacceptable to leave them waiting for an ambulance when there is a problem,” said Dr Andrew Burdett from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. “These delays can make life-threatening situations even more dangerous, and ambulance services must be properly funded and staffed to ensure they can respond quickly.”

The report also found that some ambulance services are so stretched that they have had to rely on volunteers or public members to provide medical transport. This concerns disabled children whose lives may be in danger if they receive inadequate care during transit.

“We need urgent action at national and local levels,” Dr Burdett said. “Ambulance trusts must be given the resources they need to meet their targets and ensure disabled children get the help and support they need.” He added that there also needs to be better coordination between health services to make sure disabled children always get priority when it comes to accessing emergency care.

The BMA has called for urgent action, saying that disabled children’s lives depend on it. “We must do more to ensure our ambulance services are prepared and ready to respond quickly when a child needs help,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the organisation’s Council chair. “Every second counts in an emergency.” He added that the government needs to step up and properly fund ambulance services so they can meet their targets and keep disabled children safe.

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