Winter crisis

It’s time to fix the NHS’s looming winter crisis

My patient has sepsis. The window for treatment is short; in less than an hour, he could die. In urgent care, the direct line to ambulance control bypasses 999: it lets the call handler know a doctor requires urgent attention for a sick patient. Ten minutes: no response. I’m on a second phone to central dispatch: what is going on? A critical incident has been called; the service is overwhelmed. Finally, after 15 minutes, the phone answers and help is on its way.  Worryingly, this is far from an isolated incident. Last week, it was reported that an ambulance service sent a taxi to a GP practice in Bristol to collect a