It’s bone-chilling and snow is falling on dark country roads in North East Wales, but some patience is required.
There is always a patient to reach.
Usually, they had to wait for hours before the emergency team showed up. Patients wait to board ambulances and then wait to get off when they arrive at busy hospitals.
Ambulance crews can spend an entire 12-hour shift just waiting with patient.
Paramedic Anna Taylor told us: “Not long ago, I had someone and was hospitalized for 26 hours.
“It can’t go on like it used to – that’s a big deal,” she said.
“I work and live in the community so I know the situation. I worry that if one of my family or friends needs an ambulance, I know it’s going to be hard for us to get an ambulance. for them.”
Like their colleagues on ambulances across the UK, Anna and her partner on her shift, Tony Dovey-Evans, cannot recall what a winter was like.
The Welsh government is expected to confirm on Thursday that the wait time spent last month was among the worst on record.
During Anna and Tony’s 12-hour shift – which lasted until almost 14 hours when they got home – we only saw two patients because waiting around just slowed things down.
To demonstrate how steeped they are in this crisis, the next emergency call happened to take us to one of Tony’s relatives, who had died at the house near Rhyl.
Recently, Mervyn and his wife Christine have had to call for help multiple times – on one occasion they had to wait for an ambulance for an uncomfortable and stressful 16 hours.
It was faster this time and it was a relief to see a familiar face come to help.
‘Something needs to be done’
Tony has spent nearly 42 years in front-line medicine and is adamant that this winter has been the worst he has ever seen: “It’s just more stressful and something needs to be done without question. infected.
“We can’t continue like this as we are now.”
He’s fed up with short-term fixes that don’t solve the real problem, he says: “Put an adhesive plaster on a very large wound, it doesn’t work at all, it just doesn’t work.”
Many describe it as a “perfect storm” of pressure throughout the health care system that causes patient suffering and, in rare cases, death, because of delays, time Waiting and overall demand is crippling service.
Anna told us: “Things won’t get any better unless the government takes some action to improve things.
This is the responsibility of the Welsh government in Cardiff, but politicians in Westminster and Edinburgh are also under pressure to tackle this UK-wide crisis.
If you are an NHS worker and would like to share your experience with us anonymously, please email [email protected]
The chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, Jason Killens, told Sky News that 38% of his ambulances were out of service in December due to prolonged delays in getting patients to hospital.
“There are too many patients waiting too long in our community,” he said.
“I’m obviously sorry and I’m sorry for any patients that have been delayed in Wales. It arose as a result of the pressure on the entire health and social care system.”
The service wants more public awareness on how to use 999 and more community-based solutions to help ease the pressure.
The Welsh government has repeatedly said it is taking steps to tackle the crisis.
Improvements don’t come anytime soon for the likes of Tony, who are waiting in long lines at Glan Clwyd Hospital.
The Welsh Ambulance is a member of Unite going out on Thursday in the latest round of industry action on wages and working conditions.
Contingency plans mean that the most severe 999 calls will still see ambulance crews respond.