Emergency services declare “critical incident” due to IT problem

An ambulance company has declared a critical incident due to a technical issue.

South East Coast Ambulance Service said it had suffered a “significant IT issue” overnight and urged patients to “consider alternatives to 999 where possible”.

It is the second time in a week that a technical problem has caused problems with an emergency service.

On November 10, the East of England Ambulance Service said it had experienced an “outage” in its computerized dispatch and telephone systems.

While the systems were back up and running shortly after the problem, the 999 service had to temporarily divert emergency calls to neighboring emergency services.

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “Following a serious IT issue overnight, we have declared a critical incident this morning, November 17, 2021.”

“Our staff are working extremely hard as we continue to respond to patients. We ask that you consider alternatives to calling 999, including NHS 111 online, unless absolutely necessary.”

The problems arise against the background of increasing pressure in emergency care.

Asked about the pressure on ambulances during Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons: “I appreciate that ambulance crews and emergency services are doing an excellent job, especially at this time of year, and I thank them for what they do. “

“We are supporting them with more money – a further £450m has been awarded to 120 trusts to upgrade their facilities and we are investing a further £36bn to tackle the backlog that is currently affecting the NHS so badly due to the levy.” we introduced.”

On Tuesday, Amanda Pritchard, the head of the NHS in England, said the pressure on emergency care systems in hospitals was “even greater” than that caused by Covid.

She also described a “surge in demand” for emergency services, including the highest-ever number of 999 calls in a month.

Elsewhere, a paramedic described caring for only one patient in an entire shift due to delays in handovers at the hospital.

Faye Shepherd, a student paramedic with South Western Ambulance Service, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that she only saw one patient in a 14.5-hour working day because her crew was “stuck in the hospital the whole time waiting for one.” sleeping place was waiting”.

(PA Graphic) (PA Graphic)(PA Graphic) (PA Graphic)

(PA Graphic) (PA Graphic)

In October, Ms Shepherd had described a “palpable feeling of concern among staff” as her ambulance was “23rd in the queue of 25 ambulance crews waiting to enter the emergency department”.

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to experience the highest levels of sustained demand for our service.

“Our response times are directly affected by the time it takes us to transfer patients to overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms. This is longer than ever before.

“Compared to recent years, we are losing many more hours, resulting in our ambulances queuing outside hospitals and being unable to respond to other patients, which inevitably impacts the service we can provide.” This is a Health system problem that therefore requires a systems solution.”

It comes after ambulance chiefs raised the alarm over a new report which claimed tens of thousands of patients in England may have been harmed while waiting in ambulance queues outside overcrowded hospitals.

In October, the central health system (NHS) ordered hospitals to end all handover delays and stop using ambulances as “cabins” in emergency departments.

Read more

Due to the queues at the hospital, the paramedic only cares for one patient in a 14.5-hour shift

Queen returns to work after missing Sunday’s memorial service

British fighter jet worth £100m crashes into Mediterranean