This tragedy where a 47-year-old woman, with a known irregular heartbeat, waited 6 hours on a frozen pavement, then died of a cardiac arrest the next day, did not lead to the blaming of any politician in Wales. Even the local health board chief executive, was allowed to excuse the service and to blame unattributed ‘pressures’ but without naming any government responsible for them. Readers in Scotland will know things are done differently here when the politicians are from the SNP government. Here’s what the unfortunately-named CE said:
Jason Killens, chief executive, said: “We are sorry that our response took longer than we would have liked on this occasion. “Lengthy waits for an ambulance are a sign of pressures across the whole unscheduled care system, not just in Wales but across the UK. An increase in high-priority red calls and significant hospital handover delays in particular are impacting on our ability to respond to 999 calls as quickly as we would like.”
Note the callous, indifferent tone, and the excuse that it’s happening everywhere? It isn’t. A new system of prioritising the sickest patients, even though that may lengthen waits for less urgent cases, has massively improved survival rates for cardiac arrest patients. According to a spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service:
‘We have changed the way we respond to calls and are now deliberately prioritising the sickest, most seriously ill patients in Scotland. As a result, we have almost doubled survival rates for cardiac arrest patients since 2013. For less urgent cases, our call handlers now spend more time understanding patient’s clinical needs to ensure we send the right, not necessarily the nearest resource. The result has been slightly longer response times for patients whose lives are not immediately at risk – but consequently, last year we saved the lives of an additional 62 patients who had suffered an out of hospital cardiac arrest.’
Will BBC Scotland tell BBC Wales about this, to save a life?