NHS boss feared waiting for ambulance after stroke

Posted: May 16th 2022


This is a chilling story, especially for rural dwellers where according to this if you have stroke symptoms you need someone to get you to A&E fast and not to wait for an ambulance, when the call centre will put you in a second tier of priority.

An NHS boss who had a stroke was taken to A&E by her husband rather than calling for an ambulance because of concerns over long waits.

In a series of tweets, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Deborah Lee praised his swift actions.

She said he had "bundled her into his car", last week, after she had showed the signs of a stroke because he had heard her "lamenting ambulance delays".

She is recovering but says it may have been different if they had called 999.

Waits for an ambulance in England are the longest since new targets were introduced, in 2017.

And Ms Lee's regional service - the South West - has the longest waits in the country, with category-two calls, which include strokes, taking nearly two hours, on average, to reach patients in March.

The target is 18 minutes.

In the tweets, Ms Lee said: "Naturally, I am eternally grateful to my husband for his swift actions… but I can't get one thing out of my head.

"What if my husband hadn't been there and my daughter had called for an ambulance and I'd been put in the cat[egory]-two stack?"

She went on to say it was not the fault of the ambulance service and the whole system was "working unrelentingly to solve this but to no great avail".

Ms Lee said hospitals were struggling to discharge patients, because of a lack of social care, and so delays were building up in the rest of the system.