1 EAGLETON NOTES: Emergencies

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Emergencies

Island life has it's good and it's bad points as does rural life anywhere. There was an article on the news this evening informing us that an ambulance could take over 20 minutes to get to some rural communities. What they really meant was rural communities in England because outside of some major cities in Scotland there is little or no data.

The article on the BBC website says:
The most critically injured patients in rural areas are at risk due to the time it takes the ambulance service to reach them, a BBC investigation has found.
Some rural communities wait more than 20 minutes on average for 999 crews or trained members of the community to get to immediately life-threatening cases like cardiac arrests and stab victims.
A response should come in six to eight minutes, depending on where you live.
The accompanying map:


I think that once can be fairly certain in saying that in many rural areas in Scotland, 20 minutes would not even be achievable by an air ambulance. That's just a reality of rural life.

26 comments:

  1. A safety bumper would be to have volunteers in rural areas that can perform first aid, and ready a person for transport, a network covering areas with overlap. They wouldn't be full emergency persons, but trained enough to give a measure of aid until the professionals arrive.
    Of course, I'm of the type that carries bandaids wherever I go.

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    1. Maywyn, we have what are called First Responders in many communities and they do exactly what you suggest. Scotland also has Paramedics with well-equipped vehicles that can get around much faster than ambulances on rural roads. Many of Scotland's west coast rural communities are several hours by road from the nearest small town or even large village.

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  2. Same here. We have great distances in our rural area.

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    1. And, Red, I would think that you have more realistic expectations.

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  3. It is a good job I was never a first responder, it takes me 30mins to get into town four miles away. Twenty minutes are spent looking for the car keys......be quicker to walk.

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  4. I live in a large city with good services but ambulances can still take twenty minutes. Sometimes it's just luck that swings the balance

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    1. Kylie, having experienced the Sydney traffic I am not surprised at what you say. What surprises me in London and some cities is that an ambulance can sometimes get through the city at all.

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  5. When my fried J nearly cut off his foot with a chainsaw, the Doc' arrived at our house within about 5 mins (from 7 kms away), the ambulance arrived after about 10 mins, and he was in the helicopter, en route for Bordeaux, within 15 mins. Amazing, considering that I live way out in the wilds.

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    1. That's pretty impressive for a rural area, Cro.

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  6. The 20 minutes is just some number that the organisations have to pander too as a way of supposedly checking their efficiency. The average call out times could be somewhat misleading. The quality of help is a bit more difficult to assess. Our village has a defibulator on the Marie wall, how many would be able to use it?

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    1. potty, defibrillators are everywhere in Scotland now so far as I can see. When I asked that very question of a mountain rescue friend he said that the instructions on them were foolproof and anyone could use them. I suspect that's a bit optimistic but I gather that it's not rocket science. Mind you my French and Italian might not be adequate so I hope the pictures are good.

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  7. You can wait five hours here because the ambulances are all stuck in a queue to unload waiting for a vacant trolley at the hospital. It is regularly written up in the local paper.

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    1. I gather that's a significant English problem, Rachel. So far as I'm aware things are nowhere near as bad in Scotland and certainly my visits to Glasgow's Royal Infirmary on a Friday night (busy night for A and E in Glasgow!) and 5am on a Sunday morning (more police than nurses in A and E) were incredible. On the first occasion I was on the ward having had X-rays and scans and with drips all hooked up within two hours of arriving. As this post was about ambulances I should add that, on the first occasion, I was on the ward when the ambulance service rang me back on my cellphone to assess my need for an ambulance: 6 or more hours after I rang them. I'd eventually rung for a taxi. The second occasion the ambulance arrived within half an hour but it wasn't a music and lights event.

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  8. I'm only guessing but I suspect a similar map for Sweden would look about the same. (I.e. in rural areas up north you'd probably have to wait quite a bit longer than 20 minutes for an ambulance.) I've never yet needed an ambulance transport myself, but there have been a couple of occasions when I've had to get to the ER by taxi; and a lot more occasions when I've had reason to be grateful for living in a city big enough to have its own hospital.

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    1. Monica, I'm very grateful for the fact that I live only 7 miles from our hospital too: it's very re-assuring.

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  9. I can categorically confirm that the paramedics arrived in good time in the middle of the night at your house Graham, can’t I? You were whisked away in great style and attended to at your local hospital before being discharged again within a couple of days just as efficiently.

    I must say that on the couple of occasions we have needed to call for an ambulance here in West Yorkshire, we live in a small village but there is a large busy town to be negotiated to get to the hospital. I was surprised with the speed and efficiency of the care I received. Now though, those that make the decisions have decided that our hospital and another one will be amalgamated together so the A&E will be about 12 miles distant, through heavy traffic at peak times of the day, so it won’t be nearly as speedy a service in the future whilst also covering a much, much larger population. I hope to goodness I don’t need to avail myself of them any time soon.

    Hope you won’t have to call them any time soon.

    Regards Beverley

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    1. Yes, Beverley, you certainly got a surprise that night. What a way to start a visit! I hope neither of us need an ambulance again!

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  10. I heard the report about ambulance times Shock Horror! If you live in a city an ambulance will reach you far quicker than if you live in the countryside! I might be way off the mark but could this possibly be because most ambulance stations are in towns and cities?

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    1. Yes, YP, it's quite astonishing that those people nearest to ambulance stations receive ambulances more quickly that those who live so much further away. Rather a statement of the obvious I would have thought..

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  11. wow 20 minutes that's a quick time, here in NZ the ambulance service is strictly volunteer based and in rural areas and that's usually up to an hour or more.

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    1. When I lived just outside Napier there was an Ambulance station not too far away. I'm not quite sure if there was one in the centre of Napier as well but I can't recall one. The main air ambulance for the area was in Hastings at the hospital (which served the whole of the Napier and Hastings area of Hawkes Bay). I'm pleased to say that I was only ever in an ambulance on one occasion when I was taken from the medical centre in Napier to the hospital.

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    1. Firstly, Jill, I was thinking about you last night which is a coincidence. Secondly I'm sorry to hear that your husband has had a stroke but very pleased that he is recovering. You son's advice was very good advice.

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  13. There are pros and cons to everything, and if you are far from an ambulance station at least you don't get those awful wailing sirens day in day out!

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    1. Jenny, that's okay so long as you're not desperately in need of one. Ironically a friend was staying not so long ago and said that she couldn't cope with the quiet. She missed the noise of the traffic when she went to bed?

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